Report predicts strong demand for inflight connectivity, despite COVID-19


Valour Consultancy foresees strong demand for inflight connectivity (IFC) systems on business aircraft over the next decade. The market intelligence firm’s latest report – The Market for IFEC and CMS on VVIP and Business Aircraft – predicts that the number of IFC terminal installations in this market will rise to almost 32,000 in 2029 – up from 20,689 at the end of 2019.

The report predicts a sharp drop-off in installation activity in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but sees the market picking up more quickly than commercial aviation. “Annual installations of IFC systems on business aircraft are set to fall by 28% in 2020 compared with 2019,” said report author, Craig Foster. “While 2021 will be another tough year, the launch of several new solutions will provide impetus. Deployments from SmartSky Networks, Iridium (with Certus) and SES/Collins Aerospace (LuxStream) are all expected to ramp up at this point in time. Intelsat and Satcom Direct will resume new installs for the FlexExec service too.”

Foster also says the market could benefit from ongoing airline capacity reductions and people looking less favourably on commercial aircraft and busy airports. “So-called health corridors are starting to emerge as increased interest in flying privately from those who haven’t previously done so acts as a catalyst of the recovery,” he said. “Many fractional providers are reporting that recent months have seen record enquiries from new customers. We also expect to see more business jets being used by corporations to transport employees beyond the C-suite to protect them from COVID-19 and recent moves to create more flexible business models will help support these added users.”

The report also takes a look at the closely related markets for IFE and CMS. It states that private aircraft owners and operators are said to be prioritising IFC when pulling back on discretionary spend, so the impact of the outbreak is expected to be more profound in 2020 and 2021. “While IFE/CMS vendors have been harder hit, the adoption of wireless IFE and full CMS functionality on smaller aircraft like small cabin jets and turboprops is expected to increase, expanding the total addressable market beyond the mid- to large-cabin aircraft that have long been the staple of the market,” concluded Foster.

Developed with input from more than 30 companies across the value chain, the study includes 85 tables and charts along with extensive commentary on key market issues, technology trends and the competitive environment. For a full table of contents and report scope, click here.

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Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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