Global In-Flight Wi-Fi Industry

Global In-Flight Wi-Fi Industry

  • September 2020 •
  • 308 pages •
  • Report ID: 5721265 •
  • Format: PDF
Monster Waves of the COVID-19 Storm Washes Out the Aviation Industry. In-Flight Wi-Fi Declines by a Painful -30.8%

The global market for In-Flight Wi-Fi is expected to decline by -30.8% in the year 2020 and thereafter reach a market size of US$6.6 billion by the year 2027, trailing a post COVID-19 CAGR of 10.6% over the analysis period 2020 through 2027. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted majority of economic activities across countries. The pandemic is estimated to cost trillions of dollars to the global economy. Commodity-rich exporting countries are expected to experience a US$2
US$3 trillion fall in investments in the near term. Aviation industry is worst hit by the crisis, as the lockdowns and shutdowns in almost all countries across the world led to widespread restrictions being imposed on international air travel but soon domestic travel was also limited. The cancellation of flights is wielding an adverse impact on the global airline industry. The airline industry has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and the ensuing lockdowns, travel bans and other restrictions, which have significantly impacted the business travel industry. The US airlines have been facing catastrophic losses in terms of passenger numbers and revenues due to the coronavirus crisis. Delta Air Lines, Inc. for instance recorded $2.8 billion in losses for Q1 2020.

The aerospace industry is heading for a devastating year in 2020, and estimated to register notable losses of $83.3 billion due to COVID-19 pandemic. Total revenues for the industry are projected to fall from $830 billion to $418 billion over 2019-2020. Despite generating around $590 billion in 2021, the industry is forecast to bear a significant loss of $15.8 billion. Restrictions on international travel and lockdowns evaporated passenger demand, with total passenger traffic estimated to decline by 52.7%. The number of passengers is projected to drop dramatically to the 2006 levels, around 2.26 billion. Despite efforts by airlines to drive passenger traffic through price stimulation, passenger revenues are anticipated to reduce to $241 billion, a major fall in comparison to $612 billion recorded in 2019. While fuel prices provided some relief, overall expenses and revenues are estimated to decline by 34.2% and 51%, respectively. Low utilization of seats and aircraft are expected to add to mounting costs. While cargo remains a bright spot and freight tons are expected to drop by around 10.1 million tons, unavailability of the belly cargo is likely to affect cargo capacity. On the other hand, cargo revenues are expected to grow from $102.4 billion to $110.8 billion over 2019-2020, enabling the segment to push its share in industry revenues from 12% to 26%. COVID-19 has severely disrupted the aerospace industry across all regions, starting with Asia-Pacific, which is projected to bear the major absolute loss in 2020. The aerospace industry is anticipated to remain soft despite attempts to re-open the borders & economy. Airlines are unlikely to touch the pre-crisis levels in terms of passenger traffic and overall revenues.

Long-term growth of the global in-flight Wi-Fi market however remains positive despite the significant challenges posed. Although the market is expected to continue facing challenges over the next 18-24 months with Wi-Fi expansion plans delayed and cancelled, the resumption of air travel and gradual increase in aircraft passenger numbers will give rise to even greater need for connectivity, providing a the market an opportunity to expand in the post COVID-19 period. Demand during this period will continue to arise from business jets segment, while in the longer-term commercial aviation markets are expected to drive the growth. Airlines are likely to continue transitioning from traditional fixed-satellite service (FSS) networks to GEO-HTS (high-throughput satellite), while Free Wi-Fi adoption is anticipated to significantly drive capacity demand over the long-term. MSS/L-band will continue to drive operational connectivity and growth in general aviation. Personal electronic devices (PEDs) are expected to play a central role in ensuring a safe and contact-free passenger journey. Mobile devices are already increasingly being used as a remote control for various types of touchpoints at airports, such as check-in kiosks and self-bag drops. Service providers will focus on offering solutions for providing similar remote control capabilities via PEDs for IFC services, enabling passengers to avoid touching non-personal equipment, such as seat-back inflight entertainment screens, thereby respecting social distancing as well as boosting confidence and satisfaction among passengers onboard. In addition, inflight connectivity solutions will be developed for providing passengers digital access to onboard menus and relevant sanitization information on their PEDs. Moreover, integration of IFC services with frequent flyer and passenger manifest programs can help passengers in quickly and safely viewing personalized information regarding their route and aircraft using their PEDs.

Competitors identified in this market include, among others,
  • PJSC Aeroflot Russian Airlines
  • Aeroflot
  • AirAsia Berhad
  • American Airlines, Inc.
  • British Airways PLC
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific Airways Limited
  • AeroMobile Communications Ltd.
  • Astronics Corporation
  • Avionica, Inc.