Connected aircraft numbers rising
Just over 20% of the world’s aircraft will be equipped with wireless connectivity options by the end of 2013, research firm IHS predicts.
The firm estimates the number of aircraft with Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity will hit 4,048 by the year-end, equivalent to 21% of the global fleet. The figure is a rise from 15% penetration at end-2012, and forms part of regular growth that will see 50% of the world’s aircraft equipped with wireless connectivity by 2022.
Wi-Fi is currently the most-deployed connectivity option for aircraft. IHS predicts 75% of compatible airliners will offer Wi-Fi only connections in 2013, with North American airlines utilizing the technology due to a ban on cellular connectivity in the region’s airspace.
Getting wireless technology into planes is one thing, but now airlines must work to get passengers using it, says Heath Lockett, senior aerospace analyst at IHS. “The proportion of passengers actually connecting to wireless services on board is still very low, average in the single-digit percentages.
“The great challenge for airlines now is to inform passengers of the services they offer and to get them to pay for access.”