Euroconsult’s newly-released report, “Prospects for In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity”, says total revenues from inflight connectivity services are expected to grow from $700 million in 2015 to nearly $5.4 billion by 2025.
Geoffroy Stern, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult and editor of the report, said: “At the end of 2015, 72 airlines had already installed or announced plans to install inflight connectivity systems on board, and the number of connected commercial aircraft had increased by 21% compared to the end of 2014.
“The launch of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) in both the Ku-band and Ka-band is expected to be a game-changer for the in-flight connectivity market.
“Total Ka-band HTS supply will increase threefold to reach 1,500 Gbps by 2018, while Ku-band HTS supply will increase fivefold to reach 285 Gbps in 2018.
“Beyond 2018, an even larger volume of capacity targeting the in-flight connectivity market, is expected. HTS systems will not only tremendously increase data speeds to the plane compared to regular satellite systems, but will also significantly lower costs, thereby further driving the adoption of IFC services.
“With more airlines opting for inflight connectivity, companies that have not yet made a decision will be increasingly pressured to offer such services to match their competitors,” Stern said.
The number of connected commercial aircraft is expected to grow from 5,300 to 23,100 over the 2015-2025 period, accounting for 62% of the global fleet.
The significant upward revision compared to our previous forecasts is mostly driven by the expected faster adoption of VSAT-based solutions (for both Ku and Ka-bands).
In the business aviation market, the share of VSAT solutions is also seen increasing dramatically, as the largest service providers on the commercial aviation market, such as Panasonic and GEE, announced plans at the end of 2015 to address this market.
Overall, Euroconsult estimates that VSAT bandwidth will grow from 2.0 Gbps in 2015 to 120 Gbps in 2025.
Beyond cabin connectivity, the smart plane concept is taking shape. Thanks to the growing implementation of connectivity on board aircraft and to technological innovations in various aspects of avionics, airlines today have a major opportunity not only to offer new services to passengers but also to optimise flight operations.
Connected aircraft or smart planes are a new generation of aircraft that are considered to be nodes in a very wide network of interconnected systems.
While currently in its infancy, the “smart plane” or e-Enabled aircraft concept is expected to develop further in the near future, and this should create untapped new opportunities for a wide range of players.