The global IFEC (In-Flight Entertainment & Connectivity) market size was estimated at USD 3.13 billion in 2015. The IFEC service portfolio encompasses the delivery of enhanced connectivity and entertainment services to passengers using various hardware, content, and connectivity preferences.
IFEC service delivery is becoming a unique selling proposition where dynamic technologies and connectivity service delivery podiums empower air flight carriers to differentiate their offering either by hi-tech feature conveyed to passengers or by cost.
The substantial growth prospects of the in-flight entertainment & connectivity market can be attributed to the surging eminence of wireless solutions’ adaptability in single- and twin-aisle aircraft. The launch of high throughput satellite (HTS) has marked the emergence of another revolution in the in-flight connectivity era by enabling enhanced connectivity through Ka-band for streaming media content, geo-positioning services, and several other applications.
Upcoming favorable initiatives by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in conjunction with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have permitted the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) inside the aircraft premises with certain regulatory instructions to be followed thereafter.
Hardware suppliers are anticipated to dominate the content delivery industry in order to offer exclusive content, along with creating new revenue streams for airlines and concentrating on evolving data storage competencies or forming tie-ups with data centers to increase data volumes.
North America IFEC market revenue by product, 2014 - 2024 (USD Million)
Companies such as Thales Group and Panasonic Avionics Corporation provide IFEC systems and other associated accessories to be used in combination for a dynamic IFE immersive experience. The in-flight entertainment & connectivity market has witnessed rapid consolidations in the recent years as numerous hardware suppliers move into content service delivery, thereby positioning themselves as system integrators.
Major hardware vendors, such as Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Row 44, have formed a strategic alliance to deliver international content as a part of their hardware in-flight entertainment & connectivity system package alongside acquiring contracts from live television service suppliers.
Over the years, passengers’ content browsing competencies have reflected mounting preference towards web-based interfacing access to content, rather than stored content browsing capabilities. Owing to these trends, suppliers of IFEC systems have started catering to consumers’ preferred demands. Thales Group has launched AVA wireless streaming media solution; similarly, Panasonic Avionics Corporation launched the eXW solution for this purpose.
Aircraft Type Insights
Narrow body aircraft (NBA), wide body aircraft (WBA), and very Large Aircraft (VLA) are the three major categories of aircraft that dominate the airspace. The current market scenario depicts a wider market share acquired by the wide body aircraft (e.g., Boeing 767, 747, and 787 Dreamliner); however, over the forecast period, the narrow body aircraft (e.g., Boeing 737, Airbus 320, and Boeing 757) would gradually attain dominance due to optimal fuel management aspects.
Owing to timelines, economies of flying, the comfort of passengers, and frequently changing oil rates, the wide body aircraft are estimated to lose their market share to some extent to narrow body aircraft.
Business jets vary widely from propeller-driven aircraft to piston engine aircraft, which could be of the size of an SUV car. The scope of flight distance can vary from a few hundred miles to the ones capable of undertaking non-stop international flights for a count of nearly 6-10 people.
North America is expected to witness an increasing demand for IFEC and wireless IFEC systems, owing to the improved high-speed broadband support substructure and the customizable features it offers to its users.
North America is anticipated to capture the major portion of the in-flight entertainment & connectivity market. This can be attributed to the exponential growth in the data usage in the air and on the ground. However, the Asia Pacific market is expected to index the peak growth, owing to the seat-centric and wireless solutions being embraced by the growing number of airlines.
The Asia Pacific IFEC industry is anticipated to witness a rapid growth due to the increasing consumer population. It is estimated that over 3 billion people in the Asia Pacific region would attain a higher living standard by 2020, thereby pursuing more air traveling, which, in turn, will thrust the economies of the IFEC industry.
Upcoming favorable initiatives by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in conjunction with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have permitted the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) inside the aircraft premises with certain regulatory instructions to be followed thereafter. These endeavors are expected to bolster the IFEC growth over the forecast period.
Competitive Market Share Insights
Key industry participants include Thales Group S.A., Gogo Llc, Lufthansa Systems AG, OnAir, Viasat Inc., Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Zodiac Aerospace S.A., Cobham Plc., and Iridium Communications Inc.
A recent trend has observed the surging mergers and acquisitions in connectivity service providers to provide an enhanced service portfolio with high-speed services at economical rates. A recent collaboration of Inmarsat and ViaSat Inc. verified this merger scenario in the in-flight entertainment industry, where a leading mobile satellite communications player, Inmarsat, collaborated with a digital communications provider in the military and commercial applications arena, ViaSat Inc.
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