New report says 15,000 aircraft will have wireless IFE by 2026

Immfly's wireless IFE system running on a passenger's tablet.
Immfly’s wireless IFE system running on a passenger’s tablet.

The market for wireless inflight entertainment (W-IFE) continues to exhibit strong growth according to a new research report from Valour Consultancy.

The market intelligence firm’s latest data reveal that the number of aircraft fitted with W-IFE systems will exceed 15,000 by the end of 2026 – up from just over 6,000 at the end of 2017.

It says while many see potential in unconnected W-IFE as a bridging solution until such a time that full off-board inflight connectivity becomes more attractive to cost-conscious operators, the market continues to grow mostly as an accessory to in-flight connectivity (IFC).

Report author, Craig Foster said: “81% of W-IFE systems were installed alongside connectivity in 2017 and we expect this proportion to increase as IFC technology improves and the benefits of an integrated IFEC approach (greater personalisation, tailored content, operational efficiencies etc.) become more obvious.”

But despite reports to the contrary, Foster says the popularity of W-IFE does not spell the end for the humble seat-back screen.

Foster continued: “Nearly every single wide-body aircraft is delivered with embedded inflight entertainment and this is unlikely to change for some time yet. Additionally, passengers have come to expect that they will be able to watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters on longer journeys, but this early-window content still cannot be streamed to passengers’ devices.”

In ten years, Valour Consultancy predicts that the installed base of embedded IFE systems will rise from 6,500 in 2016 to approximately 8,600 by 2026.

The report also looks at the market for other IFE product categories and finds that there is diminishing appetite for overhead screens, while the emergence of cinematic headsets and virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays holds potential.

“Airlines are always looking at new ways to innovate and stay one step ahead of the competition. This coupled with the fact that some passengers want to cut themselves off from the cabin environment and forget the unpleasantness associated with air travel has resulted in interest in more immersive IFE platforms,” Foster said.

For a full table of contents and report scope, visit:

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