May 19, 2017

Euroconsult estimates that 71 airlines provided connectivity at YE2016. Among these connected airlines, 8 of them have a fleet composed of more than 300 aircraft, 26 of them have between 100 and 300 aircraft and 38 have less than 100 aircraft. Almost all of the medium and large fleet carriers offer connectivity on at least part of their fleet.

Among the connected airlines, the largest fleets are found in the US. These are also the most developed in terms of connectivity. Delta, United, American and Southwest Airlines have all equipped a significant part of their fleets, representing 58% of the total number of connected aircraft worldwide, and 15% of the world’s total number of commercial aircraft.

Chinese connected carriers such as China Southern, China Eastern or Air China have the second largest fleets, representing 4,6% of the world’s total number of commercial aircraft in 2016. However, only a tiny fraction of their fleet provides connectivity to passengers (less than 2% of the total number of connected aircraft worldwide). These airlines, with very few connected aircraft, represent an important area for IFC growth potential in the Asia Pacific region.

The European and Middle East carriers have an average fleet size ranging between 100 and 300 aircraft. Whereas European carriers have only equipped a small portion of their aircraft with connectivity solutions – Lufthansa and Norwegian Air being the carriers with the most equipped aircraft – the big three Gulf carriers, Emirates, Qatar and Etihad, have already equipped most of their fleet with IFC. The main European airlines have a strong ambition to provide a fully connected fleet in the coming years in order to offer passengers a consistent experience on their long and short-haul aircraft.

Regarding connected airlines and their willingness to equip their entire fleet with connectivity solutions, the potential for growth is much higher in the European and Asia Pacific regions than in North America. Different factors can accelerate the exploitation of this potential for growth such as the availability of STCs, of line-fit options in the OEMs’ catalogue, the time and cost of retrofit operations, or the ever-increasing expectations of passengers regarding IFC.

Euroconsult, the leading consulting firm specialized in connectivity and telecom, maintains a constant research program on the IFEC sector. For those who wish to have a more in-depth analysis, the latest edition of Euroconsult’s research report dedicated to “Prospect for Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity” is now available. Further information on Euroconsult’s research products and tailored consulting services can be found here.

Euroconsult also organizes the unique executive conference dedicated to Inflight Connectivity. Called SmartPlane, the conference brings together the leading decisions makers impacting the evolution of this market to present their growth strategies during a series of keynote speeches and roundtable discussions. The success of last year’s edition is evidence of the growing number of opportunities for all inflight connectivity stakeholders in this market. The 2nd edition will take place at the Westin Paris Vendome on September 11, 2017. Visit for more information.

Florent Rizzo

Florent is one of Euroconsult’s experts in aero connectivity. With over ten years of experience in the aerospace sector and holding a masters in engineering and an MBA, Florent uses his business, managerial, technical and international expertise to advise clients, including airlines, service providers, satellite operators, etc.