Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel, Bath Rd, Longford, TW6 2AQ . . . October 31st

The Context



Is "Switch all Portable Electronic Devices to Airplane Mode" a Thing of the Past?


According to a recent survey conducted by GfK on behalf of Inmarsat (involving 9000 passengers across 27 countries in Europe, Asia, Australasia, and Central and South America);


92% of passengers want inflight broadband

83% already choose their airlines based on its availability

54% of passengers would choose to be able to stay online during a flight over a meal

35% bring two devices on-board

34% bring three


Will IFC Completely Replace the In-Flight Entertainment System?


The demand for inflight broadband connectivity, and the ability to deliver content to multiple devices per passenger, clearly exists on a global scale - and most passengers are willing to pay for it.  High speed inflight broadband is set to play an increasingly important role in the overall future passenger experience with industry insiders predicting that it will completely replace the inflight entertainment system in the coming years, as passengers refer to their own devices to stream video, access apps, web browsing, email, gaming, video conferencing, social media – and whatever is coming next.  Furthermore, this applies equally to short, medium or long-haul flights. 


Is it just about Passenger Experience?


And it’s not just about passenger experience, as was pointed out at the recent Global Connected Aircraft Summit in Washington DC, “we haven’t even touched the surface of operational efficiency that can be generated using IFC”.  Everything from engine data to food orders can be streamed.


The USA still leads the way, but is that Changing?


According to the 2017 Routehappy Wi-Fi Report (published Jan 12), to paraphrase: the USA still leads the way in terms of Wi-Fi equipped airliners – you stand around an 83% chance of getting on a US based connected airliner aircraft.  European & Middle Eastern Airlines are catching up though with new ATG networks being built throughout the EU and Emirates and Etihad being one of only seven carriers globally to feature Wi-Fi on 100% of their long-haul flights.


Is it Realistic to expect the same Quality of Service as on the Ground, Home or Office?


Passengers expect the same quality of service that they get on the ground, in the home or office - reliability and speed are paramount.  Irritation caused by constantly dropped service and quite often, no service at all, are the source of nearly all cost objections.  The failure to deliver fast and reliable services is the single biggest impediment to the mass uptake of inflight broadband connectivity across the globe – with most passengers preferring nothing to a sub-standard service. 


60% of Passengers would Willingly Pay more for a Fast, Reliable Service: how Interesting is that?



Referring again to the Inmarsat survey: 60% of passengers would rather not use a poor-quality service at all and by the same token, 60% would willingly pay more for a fully functioning, reliable and fast service.  Interestingly, at the GVF-EMP organised Connectivity (Air, Sea, Surface & Rail) conference held in London, February 2016, Mr Joe Leader, CEO, Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), in his keynote presentation, put the figure at 41% - which would seem to demonstrate a dramatic recent increase in the importance attached to the reliability and speed question since the two conflicting figures were put forward less than one year apart.


What’s Good for the Goose is not Necessarily Good for the Gander?


Whatever …. the message is clear.  Improved inflight connectivity is emerging as a major differentiator and choice criterion among passengers deciding which airline to use for their travel requirements - and this is going to accelerate going forward.  Since user behavioural patterns differentiate dramatically (and quite surprisingly) from region to region, solutions will need to be designed and applied to the specific requirements of each situation – what’s good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.  Dependable connectivity, however, is a condition demanded by all users.


Beyond 12 Megabits-per-Second Connection Speeds?


AeroConnect 2017 will take place at the Renaissance London Heathrow on October 31st.  The GVF-EMP Partnership, along with the key inflight connectivity players, will analyse how HTS Satellites, Next Generation ATG Networks, the integration of space-based and ground-based networks, the integration of GEO, MEO & LEO – the hybrid approach, improvements in hardware technology such as antennas, wireless access points, servers and routers will drive substantial improvements in speed & reliability – and advancement beyond 12 megabits-per-second connection speeds.


The programme will be constructed around four panels – each aimed at analysing “The Drive Towards Fast Reliable IFC at 35,000 feet”. 


Programme . . .