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BizReport : Internet : March 04, 2013

Air passengers to spend $1.5 billion on in-flight connectivity by 2015

In recent years, both passenger numbers and in-flight WiFi demand have increased. People are used to having access to the web wherever they go via their smartphones, tablets and laptops; and they now expect that connection to the web whilst traversing the skies.

by Helen Leggatt

ife services ltd.JPGAccording to a new infographic launched by UK-based IFE Services, the proliferation of personal electronic devices among airline passengers is evident. The majority, 82% globally, now take a smartphone onboard while 38% take a laptop, 37% take a table and 19% an e-reader.

So it's no surprise that in-flight wi-fi demand has also increased. The airline industry has responded with a 60% increase in wi-fi equipped airplanes in 2012 compared to the previous year. According to IFE Services, 3,194 aircraft were fitted with in-flight wi-fi at the end of 2012. By the end of 2015 it is estimated that $1.5 billion will be spent by passengers on in-flight connectivity services

Of those passengers travelling with personal devices such as smartphones and tablets, it is the younger demographics who are demanding connectivity in the air (75%), although most that have used in-flight wi-fi would use it again (67%). Just 12% would not, but that may change once connectivity efficiency increases.

fly dot comm.jpgIn September last year, completed a survey of 500 U.S. travelers of which 80% said they would like the option to connect to the Internet during a flight. That's significantly more than the 5% of U.K. travelers who, in a European version of's survey, wanted Internet in-flight.

Of the 500 U.S. travelers:

65% - Think it is important that airlines offer Internet access on flights;

36% - Would take advantage of in-flight Internet access to find information and deals relating to their destination;

26% - Would use in-flight Internet to catch up on emails.

However, almost half (49%) said they don't expect to pay extra to use their Internet connected devices and 27% would pay no more than $5.

Tags: airline industry, airline passengers, ancillary revenue, aviation industry, in-flight connections, mobile devices, personal devices, trends, wi-fi access

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