Growth of Portable Inflight Connectivity

“While inflight connectivity solution is becoming a necessity in flights, portable inflight connectivity is making it lucrative for airline companies”

Inflight connectivity is becoming a major decisive factor for consumers while choosing an airline. Airline companies have acknowledged the value and growth of inflight entertainment (IFE) and connectivity and has partnership with players like Gogo and Panasonic avionics for providing it.

Portable inflight IFE has many advantages over the traditional installed version of IFE. It does not require an extensive cabin installation process and there is no need for STC (Supplemental Type Certificates).  Another major advantage is easy and quick deployment along multiple flights. Since the portable equipment are already tested, there is no additional requirement for testing. The pricing of the device is flexible based on the aircraft and is highly reliable since it is tested across many long flight journeys. Many airlines are finding portable inflight connectivity as a mode of creating ancillary revenue also. Manufacturers such as Bluebox offers its portable IFE systems, Bluebox Wow, with a swappable rechargeable battery which could offer up to 15 hrs of video streaming for 50 passengers.

The Growth of VR (virtual reality) based entertainment in flights is another major driver for inflight connectivity including portable IFE. In September 2018, Small Planet Airlines started offering VR based inflight entertainment on some of its aircraft with a partnership with service provider Newrest’ TRE³ and Airfi, a major portable inflight connectivity provider in the aviation industry.

Conclusion  

Despite being a promising field of growth portable inflight connectivity solution providers must adhere to some aviation laws which could be a major challenge. For instance, one of the most important feature of portable inflight connectivity solutions is the battery backup it provides. This is a critical feature which decides the usability of the system. Airlines must ensure the portable device is in accordance with the aviation rule regarding radiations and the maximum power rating for an electronic device permitted on board. Companies will have to consider maintaining the balance between usability and compliance norms once the competition in this market becomes higher.

– Arjun Das, 
Senior Research Analyst,
Infoholic Research