REPORT: Most Commercial Airlines Will be ‘Connected’ by 2019

Most airlines will have Internet service in a few years

(Image: File)
(Image: File)

A new report from Juniper Research reveals that the one thing many travelers want will become a reality: Internet on most airlines flights.

Currently, more than 60 airlines provide in-flight connectivity service using either ATG-4 (Air-to-Ground service, which is the proprietary network of Gogo’s in-flight Internet) or satellite. However, the report reveals two key trends that will drive the growth of in-flight connectivity to even more airlines:

Improved Connectivity Options
As more and more devices connect to Wi-Fi on a plane, the service typically comes to a screeching halt. Better in-flight connection options can be very expensive. New satellite systems that have been rolling out for the past two years will improve the connectivity and lower costs. In addition, Gogo’s ATG in-flight service will also have reduced costs as the company continues to upgrade its networking infrastructure.

[Related: 4 Ways to Stay Connected While Traveling]

Customer Demand
80% of all passengers carry personal mobile devices. Those numbers are expected to grow to almost 100%. In order for airlines to stay competitive, they will be forced to accommodate the customer’s demand for connectivity for personal devices.

The study also shows that airline passengers prefer to stream content rather than web-browse. Streaming requires an active Internet connection, so airlines will also give in to customer demand for content streaming.

Benefits of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) over Embedded Seatback In-Flight Entertainment Consoles
According to the study, the airlines are also finding several benefits for having passengers bring their own devices for entertainment versus providing those entertainment touchscreen consoles that are embedded onto the backs of airplane seats. One such benefit is the immediate cost-savings of not having to install the consoles. Another is not so obvious. Airlines are discovering weight savings in not having the embedded consoles. Less weight means less fuel consumption and also less wiring requirements.

The report predicts that the number of connected commercial aircraft will reach 9.8 million worldwide by the end of 2019.