GVF Online Events

Airborne Again? The Future Post-Pandemic Mobility Horizon

Thursday, 19 November 2020

3:00 pm UK time / 10:00 am US Eastern time

In pre-pandemic analyses, forecast expectations for the continued deployment of inflight broadband demand were buoyant. This was partly based on observations about a new type of airline customer, whose choice of airline is influenced by the availability and quality of inflight connectivity. Now, things are different, and we all know that the ongoing global pandemic has seriously damaged the passenger airline industry. During an online event held during May 2020, involving aviation and satcoms stakeholders, various experts voiced confidence in an eventual bounce-back for aviation. Amongst various statistics arising from a poll of participants was the figure of 43 per cent predicting that recovery will take from 18 months to three years. Other surveys have been less optimistic.

One important issue for consideration is how to evaluate the extent to which the commercial damage to airline businesses, and therefore to their investment budgets is, and will go on. How will this affect the pace and nature of continued inflight connectivity deployment? Will those highly selective customers come back, and how quickly?

Given that inflight connectivity is vital for airline operations too (aircraft systems monitoring, aircraft fleet management, cabin crew-passenger communications, etc.), and for jet engine manufacturers (engine performance monitoring), and for air traffic management infrastructures at the national, continental and global level, are these applications, albeit functioning over different systems to passenger inflight connectivity, enough to secure the interim success of the inflight satcoms connectivity market?

Inflight broadband rests on the triple pillars of technologies, network services, and applications. In the technology domain airlines have long had expectations of so-called “transformational antennas”. It is valid in the current context to enquire as to the extent to which the promised performance of these “flat panel antenna” technologies will help with “the sell” to airlines, given the economic circumstances and airlines’ budgetary constraints.

As and when the passenger/customer does return to the air in significant numbers, bringing with them their evolving expectations for the connectivity service capabilities and quality of service they expect to receive, this webinar will also consider the extent to which there is an interrelationship, or degree of “connectedness”, between inflight connectivity demand and deployment trends, and the progressive roll-out of 5G in various parts of the globe.

In the context of ongoing concerns about disease transmission, inflight connectivity can empower ‘zero touch’ services on commercial airliners, with passengers not only having to interact less with cabin crew, but – as the passenger cabin becomes increasingly digitised – customers can mirror their personal communications devices to seat-back screens (no touch) when using their own streaming services, so shifting content spend away from airline operators, perhaps enabling them to afford the inflight connectivity bandwidth required for such systems. A new selling point to cast-strapped airlines, albeit one generated by crisis?

Inflight broadband is not only about scheduled commercial airline services. This webinar will also look at the business jet market segment which, in the context of a currently much reduced scheduled airline market, has service quality demands which may be an all the more important market to satisfy.

Registration will open soon!

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