London, UK | May 23, 2013– Airlines are set to spend $900 million on in-flight entertainment (IFE) content by 2018, up from $660 million in 2012, lifted by demand in emerging markets and with lower-cost options rapidly becoming available, according to a new report entitled “In-flight Entertainment Content – World – 2013” from IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

IFE content is enjoying solid growth as airlines include wireless content streaming and portable solutions on board in response to consumer demand for ubiquitous entertainment. The strongest growth in IFE will come from emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

Already, more than 10,500 aircraft are equipped with at least one form of IFE system, totaling 57.5 percent of all planes in airline fleets. However, the penetration rate is set to expand to nearly two-thirds of all commercial aircraft by 2022. In 2012, North America led all regions with 32 percent of the market for IFE content in aircraft, followed by 26 percent in Asia-Pacific and 17 percent in Western Europe. In the following years, emerging markets will take a leadership position.

“The increasing penetration of IFE on board airplanes will largely be driven by the growth of wireless IFE and connectivity, which some view as a low-cost alternative to embedded systems,” said Rose Yin, market analyst for aerospace electronics at IHS. “However, with the general trend of seatback systems getting lighter and more seat-centric, the demand for embedded or semi-embedded seatback screens will continue to grow for years to come with an increasing number of aircraft, as well as with premium airlines that aim to outfit most of their aircraft fleet with personal IFE.”

Easing costs to airliners
As more aircraft become equipped with IFE and more flights offer IFE services—including embedded seatback screens, airline-rented portable devices and wireless content streaming to passengers’ own devices—demand for IFE content will increase.

However, once the market for portable consumer electronic devices matures to a point where almost all passengers carry a smartphone or tablet on board, passengers will be able to bring a wealth of stored entertainment content with them. This, in turn, could help to reduce the need for airlines to provide the same level of entertainment during flights, which may lead to an end to costly entertainment content rights and systems on which many airlines are spending millions of dollars every year.

On the other hand, when looking at the growing use of second screens among consumers—as when consumers use a tablet and watch television at the same time, consumers’ expectations are going to be similar while traveling. As a result, some airlines may still feel the need to provide seatback or overhead screens to offer a more comprehensive IFE.

With some of the content-rights restrictions that are currently in place for content streaming to passengers’ own devices, airlines could still offer content that would not be available on passengers’ portable devices. More than likely, embedded IFE systems will increasingly offer features that integrate passenger’s own devices with airline provided content to enhance flying experience.

London, UK | May 13, 2013– Shipments of commercial aircraft seats are forecast to almost double over the next decade, rising to 840,000 in 2022, up from 430,000 in 2012, according to the latest research published by IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

After a significant slowdown in orders for major original equipment manufacturers (OEM) through the global economic crisis, the commercial aerospace industry has emerged strongly. Current aircraft order backlogs have reached record levels, standing at approximately 9,000 aircraft, and production lines for many popular aircraft types are sold out to 2016 and beyond. As such, the demand for new aircraft is projected to assist in propelling the seating market over the course of the next decade.

In order to manage their large backlogs, major OEMs are expanding production facilities and stepping up production rates. This expansion, coupled with a gradual increase in the size—and therefore, passenger carrying abilities—of aircraft, will cause seating shipments destined for new aircraft deliveries to climb from an estimated 200,000 in 2012 to a predicted 330,000 in 2022.

If growth in the new-installation market is healthy, the retrofit market is forecast to provide even stronger potential for expansion. IHS projects that shipments will increase from 230,000 in 2012 to 510,000 in 2022; a rise that will see the retrofit market develop from an estimated 53 percent of seating deliveries in 2012 to a 60 percent in 2022.

“The growth of the global fleet over the last decade has created a huge retrofit market which will only continue to expand in the next 10 years, said Heath Lockett, senior analyst, automotive and transportation, at IHS. “Moreover, the pace of change on board aircraft is unprecedented. The intense competition between airlines and transference of consumer electronics technologies from the ground to the air has seen aircraft cabins—including seating—being updated more frequently than ever before, a trend which is forecast to continue.”
Given the very rapid pace of change, seating manufacturers are under huge pressure to create new products that appease both airlines and passengers; the aim being to offer more seat rows per aircraft while preserving vital legroom.

Lockett continued: “The expected doubling in size of the seating market over the next decade will inevitably benefit the industry’s ‘big three’ of B/E Aerospace, Recaro and Zodiac Aerospace. However, the often more novel approaches we’ve seen from a range of other, smaller manufacturers—such as Pitch Aircraft Seating Systems, Optimares and Thompson Aero Seating—indicates that these companies have a sizable opportunity if they, too, can expand to meet demand.”

While the future strength of the seating market may be secure, many questions remain over the cabins of the future. What is certain is that airlines will continue to be required to find a balance between passengers’ space and comfort on the one hand, with making sure that corporate revenue needs are met and satisfied on the other.

Wellingborough, UK | November 5, 2012– With in-flight Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity really starting to take off, there is increasing competition from ground- and satellite-based technologies to become the method of choice for delivering the service. According to the latest findings from IMS Research (recently acquired by IHS (NYSE:IHS)]), Ku-band will be the most popular technology at the end of 2015; with Ka-band becoming the market leader by 2020.

The market for in-flight connectivity has been most quickly and successfully addressed by Gogo’s air-to-ground (ATG) service in the United States, with the provider now planning to expand the service to Canada after regulators in the country paved the way for expansion. Thanks, in part, to the low-cost and quick installation procedure, Gogo-enabled aircraft will total more than 1,700 at the end of 2012, representing more than 70 percent of all connected aircraft. Such has been the rapid ascent of ATG, the technology is forecast to lead the market, in terms of installed base, until 2015.

However, although Gogo is currently upgrading its network to offer improved bandwidth, it faces tough competition from satellite-based solutions, chiefly because of their ability to offer a global service. Indeed, Gogo will shortly install its first Ku-band product and has also signed up to support Inmarsat’s Ka-band Global Xpress service. L-band technology was the first to see success given its use onboard aircraft for cockpit critical communications. Although L-band is predicted to remain key for cellular communications, and despite advances which have offered greater bandwidth (the latest boosting bandwidth to 700kbps per channel), it is Ku- and Ka-band which are predicted to dominate in the next decade where Wi-Fi connectivity is present.

Heath Lockett, aerospace analyst at IMS Research, commented, “With more aircraft now offering Wi-Fi, passenger awareness is rapidly increasing. Despite the challenges and costs associated with providing Internet connectivity at 36,000ft and 500mph, we’re already seeing passengers expecting a similar service to that which they can experience on the ground in coffee shops, shopping centers and so on – that is, fast and free.”

Of the predicted 15,300 connected aircraft at the end of 2021, it is projected that 39 percent will utilize Ka-band, compared with 28 percent which employ Ku-band, providing a significant change in the landscape compared to the end of 2016, when Ku-band is forecast to represent 36 percent of all connected aircraft, with just 12 percent offering Ka-band. Ku-band is currently supported by Panasonic Avionics, Row 44 and Gogo, whereas Ka-band has attracted LiveTV, OnAir and, again, Gogo.

Lockett continued, “Much has been made of the rivalry between companies offering Ku- and Ka-band options, however, there is more than enough room in the industry for both technologies to co-exist. Every airline has a slightly different requirement for their connectivity solution – the requirements can even be wildly different across a single airline’s fleet. Those different approaches will ensure that all technology solutions will continue to exist well into the next decade. Who knows, by then the industry buzz may be focused on S-band, or even Q-band.”

Wellingborough, U.K. | September 25, 2012 — Global installations of in-flight Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity grew by 57 percent to nearly 2,000, in 2011, and are set to increase by a further 60 percent in 2012, reaching 3,194 aircraft by the end of the year, according to the latest statistics published by IMS Research (recently acquired by IHS (NYSE: IHS)).

Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly popular onboard the world’s aircraft, with a projected 2,333 installations by the end of 2012, largely as a result of widespread installations across a number of U.S. airlines. For example, Delta and American Airlines alone will account for more than 1,000 Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft at the end of 2012.

Although Wi-Fi has undoubtedly been the most rapidly adopted method of connectivity, the number of cellular-enabled aircraft is expected to increase by 81 percent in 2012, reaching 411 aircraft by the end of the year. More impressive is the growth of the number of aircraft offering both cellular and Wi-Fi options for passengers, which is set to increase from 99 to 450 through 2012 – an increase of 355 percent.

Heath Lockett, aerospace analyst at IMS Research, commented, “U.S. passengers have been getting used to Wi-Fi for several years now, but some of the most aggressive deployments of connectivity have been in the Middle East and Asia where carriers such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific are rapidly rolling out cellular and Wi-Fi services. In Europe, Lufthansa is most definitely flying the connectivity flag, although other airlines such as SAS and Norwegian Air Shuttle are providing a good supporting cast.”

With more and more passengers getting used to some form of connectivity in the air, the market is set to continue to grow over the next decade as cellular and, particularly, Wi-Fi services become much more common. For many airlines, it will simply not be acceptable to fail to offer in-flight connectivity if rivals operating on the same route do so. As connectivity moves from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ offering, it is predicted that 15,351 aircraft will be connected by the end of 2021.

Lockett continued, “The future is certainly bright for in-flight connectivity. Consumers have ravenously adopted Wi-Fi and cellular services on the ground, and that looks set to continue above 30,000ft. The big question now is whether airlines can match the speeds that passengers demand – both in terms of the rollout times to fleets, and also the physical speed of the connection to the aircraft. The broadband generation demand a service in the air which is similar to that which they receive on the ground, and that’s the real challenge.”