Wireless In-Flight Entertainment (W-IFE) Market Report

Wireless In-Flight Entertainment (W-IFE) Market Analysis By Aircraft Type (Narrow-Body, Wide-Body, Regional Jet), By Fitment Type (Retrofit, Line Fit), By Hardware, By Technology, And Segment Forecasts, 2018 - 2025

  • Published Date: Nov, 2017
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2016
  • Report ID: GVR-2-68038-032-3
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2014 - 2015
  • Number of Pages: 210

Industry Insights

The global Wireless In-Flight Entertainment (W-IFE) market size was estimated at USD 900.7 million in 2016 and is expected to witness substantial growth over the next eight years. The growth can be attributed to the increasing prominence of wireless connectivity and the growing adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend among the general public.

Growing inclination toward the use of personal electronic device onboard has supplemented the surging adoption of wireless in-flight entertainment and connectivity services.  These services can be easily accessed on the personal devices of passengers or airline-provided portable/embedded media interface devices.

Germany W-IFE market

Installation of W-IFE systems in aircraft can benefit airlines as well as passengers. For airlines, these systems can help increase their revenues and augment the return on investments. The current regulatory scenario has witnessed significant transformation towards the adoption of wireless IFE systems as they enable airlines to allow passengers’ usage of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) that were earlier prohibited as a part of regulatory obligations. 

The convergence of In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) and In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) segments has brought about numerous opportunities in the W-IFE arena, ranging from streaming of live movies and other Audio-Video (AVOD) content in PEDs to portable digital media tablets streaming live content, thereby complementing the BYOD era.

Airlines and connectivity service providers are increasingly forming strategic partnerships to enable onboard internet connectivity and entertainment services, under which the carriers are required to install the providers’ equipment in their fleet. Moreover, there has been an increasing demand for onboard connectivity solutions to enable real-time sharing of information during the travel.

The political and regulatory environment plays a vital role in the industry, as the same is instrumental in either banning or allowing operators and airlines to provide these services. Many countries, such as India, have imposed a ban on using PEDs in transmitting mode irrespective of the phase of the flight. While the Indian civil aviation authority has banned in-flight voice communication, some European airlines permit passengers to make phone calls using satellite-based technology.

Aircraft Type Insights

The three primary aircraft types analyzed in the report include narrow-body, wide-body, and regional jet. The narrow-body segment dominated the overall market in 2016 and is expected to retain its dominance over the forecast period. The growth in this segment is attributed to the rising demand for narrow-body aircraft on short-haul flights. The increasing adoption of W-IFE systems in single-aisle as well as twin-aisle aircraft is an emerging trend in the industry.

Regional jets are expected to emerge as the fastest growing segment over the forecast period. Airlines worldwide are increasingly upgrading their fleets of regional jets with Wireless In-Flight Connectivity (W-IFEC) and PED entertainment systems. Airlines are also forming strategic alliances with connectivity providers to upgrade their systems. For instance, American Airlines, Inc. recently partnered with Gogo, Inc. to roll out in-flight wireless services in the airline’s regional jets.

Fitment Type Insights

The two principal fitment types considered in the report include retrofit and line fit. The global Retrofit market was valued at over USD 700 million in 2016 and is expected to emerge as the dominant segment over the forecast period. Airlines operators have now started to retrofit wireless in-flight systems for minimizing the overall weight, enhancing the passenger experience, and increasing the profit margins per flight.

Hardware suppliers and connectivity providers are increasingly foraying into the line fit arena, by forming strategic alliances with aircraft manufacturers to evaluate their system offerings and provide standardized W-IFE solutions in their fleet. Recently, Global Eagle Entertainment Inc.(GEE) formed a collaborative partnership with The Boeing Company for evaluating its satellite-based in-flight system as a line fit on variants of Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 737 aircrafts.

Hardware Insights

On the basis of hardware, the industry has been broadly segmented into antennas, Wireless Access Points (WAPs), and modems. Modems are anticipated to emerge as the fastest growing segment over the forecast period particularly owing to the emergence of next-generation Airborne Internet (AI) and Airborne Network (AN) systems. ViaSat has recently introduced an innovative Ka/Ku antenna, which is anticipated to extend the coverage beyond Europe and North America, uninterrupted, across the globe. This innovative antenna is the result of the collaborative satellite partnerships and the launch of its ViaSat-2 satellite.

The market is expected to present considerable growth opportunities over the forecast period as hardware suppliers have now started forming collaborative partnerships with content service delivery providers and positioning themselves as system integrators. Major vendors, such as Row 44 Corporation and Panasonic Avionics, have established strategic alliances for delivering international content. They are also acquiring contracts from Live-television service providers.

Technology Insights

We have classified the global industry in terms of technology into Air-To-Ground (ATG), Ku-band, L-band, and Ka-band. The demand for W-IFE systems is expected to surge rapidly over the forecast period as a result of the growing influence of technology coupled with the flourishing economies in various parts of the world.

In the satellite domain, airline operators are increasingly investing in next-generation High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology, in order to address the growing demand in the aviation and ground industry. These contemporary satellites are designed to replace the existing satellites catering the conventional Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) markets, such as broadcast TV and direct-to-home.

Developing a high performing global Ka-band spectrum has been an emerging trend in military communications over the last few decades and is now being realized for the commercial aviation market. As consumer electronic devices continue to consume frequency bandwidth, the load on satellite infrastructure and connectivity is expected to increase. Ka-band connectivity is presumed to support the growth in consumer electronics, thereby enabling enhanced flexible cabin capabilities.

 

Germany W-IFE market

Major airlines have started rolling out their own BYOD entertainment offerings in order to harness the benefits of the emerging trend. Recently, the Canadian airline WestJet launched its WestJet Connect Wi-Fi-based wireless IFE system while United Airlines launched its United Private Screening service.

Regional Insights

The North America regional market accounted for the largest share of the global W-IFE market in 2016 and is anticipated to retain its dominance over the forecast period. Consumers’ inclination towards spending more on air travel, especially for their continuous connectivity need, has resulted in higher expenditure in North America (particularly the U.S.). This has resulted in the U.S. positioning itself to be a key regional market.

Being a lucrative market for the airline industry as well as exhibiting the potential to be a promising market for PEDs complimenting BYOD trend in an airplane, Asia Pacific is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period. Business travelers, particularly in China and Japan, are adopting in-flight Wi-Fi. Furthermore, airlines are also looking at W-IFE has a new source of ancillary revenues, as passengers are willing to pay for Wi-Fi services.

Competitive Insights

Prominent industry players such as Inmarsat plc., Panasonic Avionics Corporation, and Gogo Inc., are making significant investments on deploying the necessary infrastructure to offer connectivity and content. These investments are anticipated to ultimately help airlines address passengers’ demand for in-flight media effectively and enhance the connectivity experience by ensuring a digital environment, very similar to that at workplace or home.

The industry is expected to be characterized by consolidation in the near future. The global market is mainly driven by recent advancements in technology and the rising popularity of the BYOD trend. Industry participants are undertaking mergers and acquisitions to enhance their market presence and expand their product offerings. The key players in the global market include Gogo, Inc., BAE Systems PLC, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Rockwell Collins, Inc., SITAOnAir, and Thales Group SA. Other companies witnessing significant growth include Zodiac Aerospace, Lufthansa Systems GmbH, Inflight Dublin, Ltd, and Bluebox Avionics Limited.

Report Scope 

Attribute

Details

Base year for estimation

2016

Actual estimates/Historical data

2014 and 2015

Forecast period

2017-2025

Market representation

Revenue in USD Million and CAGR from 2017 to 2025

Regional scope

North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East & Africa (MEA)

Country scope

U.S., Canada, Germany, UK, China, and Japan

Report coverage

Revenue forecasts, company market share, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

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Segments covered in the report

This report forecasts revenue growth at the global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global Wireless In-Flight Entertainment (W-IFE) market on the basis of aircraft type, fitment type, hardware, technology, and region: 

  • Aircraft Type Outlook (USD Million; 2014 - 2025)

    • Narrow-Body

    • Wide-Body

    • Regional Jet

  • Fitment Type Outlook (USD Million; 2014 - 2025)

    • Retrofit

    • Line Fit

  • Hardware Outlook (USD Million; 2014 - 2025)

    • Antennas

    • WAPs

    • Modems

    • Others

  • Technology Outlook (USD Million; 2014 - 2025)

    • ATG

    • Ku-Band

    • L-Band

    • Ka-Band

  • Regional Outlook (USD Million; 2014 - 2025)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

    • Europe

      • Germany

      • UK

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • Japan

    • Latin America

    • Middle East & Africa

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