Report: Inflight connectivity could be worth £3.2bn by 2024

An Alaska Airlines tablet running Microsoft Windows.
An Alaska Airlines tablet running Microsoft Windows.

A new report from Northern Sky Research says inflight connectivity retail revenues could hit US $3.2 billion by 2024.

NSR’s Aeronautical Satcom Markets, 3rd Edition report, says Ku-band (especially HTS) installs on wide-body and narrow-body airplanes will drive the market growth.

SR Research Director and report author, Claude Rousseau, said: “Today’s passengers expect inflight connectivity. It is no longer a ‘luxury item’ for their journey.

“Its place in the journey has become almost as expected as the emergency card in the seat pocket in front of them.

“This expectation fuels airlines’ investment projects in IFC. They see take-up rates of satcom and air-to-ground services grow faster, as more terminals are installed on aircrafts worldwide.”

For the more than 100,000+ airframes in the addressable market, NSR projects that today’s business is a fraction of the potential for satcom connectivity with only 47,500 in-service satcom units deployed.

As more satellite “flavours” are available to link aircraft with the ground for popular social media applications or bandwidth-hungry video applications, every indication points to a surge in capacity demand that could shake-up the market and extend connectivity to more airlines for both long and medium-haul.

“The past year as seen some airlines diversify their satellite solutions to adapt services to the demand from passengers and crew alike on regional and trans-oceanic routes,” Rousseau adds, “And this has meant more bandwidth has been consumed in more aircrafts at cruising altitude to satisfy the growing base of passengers that want always-on connectivity, anywhere.”

Building on passengers’ thirst for connectivity, the market is expanding globally.

The applications will reach further into the operations of aircraft fleets, and bring more safety during flight.

The report says, mostly an L-band market today, customer requirements are moving airlines to adopt more FSS Ku-band and GEO/Non-GEO HTS satellite bandwidth.

By 2024, NSR forecasts the market for aeronautical SATCOM connectivity will reach 160 transponder equivalents for FSS Capacity, and 81 Gbps of bandwidth across GEO/Non-GEO systems.

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