In-flight connectivity – key highlights
Over the last decade, passenger air traffic has continued to show a strong increase, which is underpinned by the fact that the industry reached an impressive growth rate of six percent in 2014. To support this growth, worldwide airlines are continuing to improve their services accordingly. In light of growing demand for in-flight connectivity and improved technology, Wi-Fi services are increasingly becoming a necessity on international and domestic routes.
Depending on the technology used, be it terrestrial or satellite, the key players providing in-flight connectivity are: GoGo and Panasonic, which held the biggest market share in 2016. In 2016, 72 carriers around the world were offering or planning to offer Wi-Fi on their planes. U.S.-based airlines were at the vanguard of the trend, with Wi-Fi services being offered on almost 80 percent of their available seat miles (ASMs), while passengers traveling on non-U.S. airlines had a 18.5 percent chance of being provided with in-flight Wi-Fi. The U.S.-based carriers Delta, United and American Airlines were ranked among the leading airlines for the most Wi-Fi-enabled ASMs worldwide.
More and more companies are promoting free Wi-Fi services to cope with the fierce competition. However, only a limited number of airlines offer free Wi-Fi on board of their planes. JetBlue Airways is providing free Wi-Fi access with its Fly-Fi basic version on almost all of the aircraft in its fleet. Emirates Airline offers 10 MB of free Wi-Fi in all classes on its A380 aircraft. There are airlines that charge for this service, but only on certain jets or Business Class passengers.