Global Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity Services Growth Opportunities
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reduced the demand for air travel both on domestic and international routes. It has severely impacted the aircraft utilization rate and financial health of the airlines. Most of the airlines were forced to halt their digital transformation journey due to weak financial capability. Airlines are focusing more on passenger safety rather than enhancing their inflight experience. As the demand for air travel comes back to pre-pandemic numbers and airlines will be able to achieve financial stability, the demand for IFEC will be growing at a steady rate.
Globally, FSCs are key providers of the IFEC services compared to the hybrid and LCCs. Most of the leading FSCs have more than a decade of experience in providing the IFEC to their passenger. They fly on long-haul routes and face tough competition from their peers. IFEC has become one of the important aspects under customer centricity which need to be further developed. It has been observed that most of the airlines that previously provided the screen on the back of passenger seats are replacing them with inflight Wi-Fi that can be easily connected to the passengers' personal electronic devices, such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops. It helps the airlines to save the cost on the line fit of the screens and also on investing in retrofit and aftermarket activity.
Furthermore, the bring-your-own-device concept helps in the aircraft weight reduction as IFEC hardware adds a significant amount of weight. LCCs are also looking forward to bringing in inflight entertainment to their passengers. Inflight connectivity is still far from the reach of LCCs because of the high cost of the service that is not in line with their business model.
Inflight connectivity has been provided by GEO-based satellites; with the advent of the LEO-based satellites, it is expected that there will be a shift in demand from GEO to LEO due to low cost and low latency. However, airlines must update their equipment as old equipment will not be compatible with LEO capacity.
Satellite operators have sensed the potential of the market and are focused on direct involvement with the airlines by acquiring the inflight entertainment service providers. It will help them to get the ready-made client base and sell their satellite capacity directly to the airlines. Satellite operators are also directly partnering with the live TV channels to stream them inflight. On the other hand, the inflight entertainment service providers are partnering with new satellite operators to increase the market footprint.
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