The availability of Wi-Fi is now a major determinant in choosing an airline. According to the results of a recent survey, 67% of passengers in Asia Pacific believe inflight Wi-Fi is a necessity not a luxury. 79% are willing to pay for inflight connectivity even on short haul leisure flights and 61% say quality inflight Wi-Fi is more important than onboard entertainment.

Inflight broadband is changing the airline industry and revolutionising passengers’ expectations of the onboard experience. That is the conclusion from the third annual Inflight Connectivity Survey, published by Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, in association with market research company GfK.

Overwhelmingly, passengers now expect the same levels of connectivity and access to online services whilst they are at 30,000 feet as they receive on the ground. As such, two-thirds (67%) of passengers in Asia Pacific say that inflight Wi-Fi is now a necessity rather than a luxury. The majority (61%) of inflight Wi-Fi users in Asia Pacific rate it higher on their list of priorities than inflight entertainment when choosing an airline. Supported by more than half of passengers in China (59%) and India (51%), this demonstrates how inflight connectivity is shifting the airline industry and the way passengers behave.

With airlines in every market racing to install or upgrade their Wi-Fi offering, passengers will have a choice to opt for an airline that offers high-quality broadband, and will soon turn their back on airlines not offering this. Over half (52%) of passengers in Asia Pacific said they would stop using their preferred airline in the next year if it did not offer connectivity enabling them to stream or browse online without interruption. Specifically, passengers in China (55%) and India (52%) are most conscious of the quality of inflight Wi-Fi.

The ability to connect to personal devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets now sits within the top three considerations when choosing an airline, behind ticket price (53%) and flight slots (44%) for 40% of passengers who have experienced high-quality Wi-Fi. The findings of the survey reflect the strong and growing demand in Asia Pacific for good quality inflight connectivity – in particular, the Chinese market. The survey has found that the top three airlines that passengers expect to offer in-flight Wi-Fi, and ultimately lead the inflight connectivity market in Asia Pacific, are airlines from China – Air China (46%), China Eastern Airlines (22%) and China Southern Airlines (21%).

Otto Gergye, Vice President, Asia Pacific at Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Good quality Wi-Fi in the air is changing the way people think about flying. Whether using the time to work, to connect with friends and family, or to pass time shopping or viewing entertainment, the availability of inflight broadband has become a major factor when choosing an airline.” He continued: “The annual Inflight Connectivity Survey has become a barometer for passenger sentiment. This year’s survey reveals that 67% of passengers in Asia Pacific believe that inflight Wi-Fi is a necessity and no longer a luxury. This will only increase as more people experience inflight connectivity.

It’s clear the opportunity that connectivity presents to airlines cannot be underestimated. Airlines in Asia Pacific are recognising this, and can now take advantage of having a high quality onboard Wi-Fi option available in the region.

Source: Media Release


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