Five Billion Reasons to Bet on In-Flight Connectivity

APEX Insight | February 12, 2016

APEX Insight: Thanks in large part to high-speed Internet provided by satellite, the money coming in from passenger connectivity will increase nearly eight-fold over the next 10 years. According to Euroconsult’s latest report, total revenues from passenger connectivity services are expected to grow from $700 million in 2015 to nearly $5.4 billion by 2025. With such huge profits hanging in the balance, competition will rise.

“At the end of 2015, 72 airlines had already installed or announced plans to install passenger connectivity systems on board, and the number of connected commercial aircraft had increased by 21 percent compared to the end of 2014,” says Geoffroy Stern, senior consultant at Euroconsult and editor of the report. At the moment, 72 airlines are either offering or planning in-flight connectivity (IFC). Overall, says Stern, watch for Asia-Pacific to add the most IFC-enabled aircraft by 2025, with Latin America and Europe surging as well. All three will chip away at North America’s current lead.

Not only will high throughput satellites (HTS) be trafficking data at ever-higher speeds (think one terabit per second with the upcoming ViSat-3 constellation), that data will get cheaper as services scale… but will they scale? The answer, according to the Euroconsult report, is an emphatic “yes,” with several implied exclamation points. Gogo and Global Eagle Entertainment were pulling in up to $135,000 per aircraft in 2015 according to the report, which suggests that that number could double within the next three years alone. Those sky-high sums hinge on higher data throughput (suppliers); as well as faster and hungrier consumption (passengers).

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