Non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) based systems, excluding those with legacy Iridium satellite phones, will account for 14% of the IFC terminal installed base by 2031.
“Since the last iteration of this report was published in 2020, SpaceX and OneWeb have made huge strides with the former signing up its first business aviation client for Starlink and the latter securing two industry heavyweights as distribution partners in Gogo and Satcom Direct” said Craig Foster, author of the 193-page report, now in its third edition.
The arrival of new low earth orbit (LEO) satellite in-flight connectivity (IFC) solutions will help propel the number of connected business aircraft to just over 27,000 by 2031. That’s up from approximately 16,400 at the end of 2021.
The growing uptake of IFC solutions enabling fast data transfer on and off the aircraft, and a growing expectation for uncompressed 4K, 8K, and Dolby Atmos encoded content, has also increased interest in the development of wireless network protocols. “It could become a key part of future in-flight entertainment (IFE) and cabin management system (CMS) design, a market that we predict will be worth some $10 billion over the course of the next ten years,” concluded Foster.
The report highlights increased competition in the market as a driver of connectivity adoption. “Most satellite operators are now committed to a multi-orbit and coverage expansion strategy, meaning redundancy will increasingly be offered via a single terminal capable of switching between LEO, medium earth orbit (MEO) and geostationary (GEO) satellites, which could start to limit the appeal of dual provisioning later in the forecast period,” said Foster.