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October 1, 2015

Passengers demand in-flight broadband by 2025

Survey reveals that wi-fi could be a key revenue driver and differentiator for airlines.

By Alexander Sword

The overwhelming majority of European passengers want or need in-flight broadband.

80 percent of those surveyed in Inmarsat‘s 2015 In-Flight Connectivity Survey would use the service if given the opportunity, while 60 percent reported that they need in-flight connectivity.

In addition, 67 percent of passengers would be willing to pay for the service, with this figure rising to 69 percent of those between 18 and 44. 63 percent of 45 to 64-year-olds said that they would be willing to pay.

The research also showed that wi-fi could be a key differentiator; 67 percent of passengers would feel more valued by airlines offering in-flight connectivity and 69 percent would choose a carrier that provides it.

Web browsing and email usage dominated in-flight demand, with 43 percent and 37 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds using it for games and video usage respectively. This reveals a demand for a more personalised entertainment experience.

Connectivity is expected sooner rather than later; 83 percent of passengers agreed that all aircraft will offer in-flight connectivity within five or ten years.

"Airlines invest millions in complex programmes such as cabin re-designs to maintain their competitive advantage, but there is one passenger demand they can meet today with a speedier return on investment: in-flight connectivity," said Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation.

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The survey polled 6000 airline passengers who had brought at least one personal device on board the aircraft during August and September 2015.

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