De­mand for Wi-Fi now sky-high for Mideast pas­sen­gers: Sur­vey

60% of all pas­sen­gers be­lieve in­flight Wi-Fi is a ne­ces­sity not a lux­ury

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

In­flight broad­band is chang­ing the air­line in­dus­try and rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing pas­sen­gers’ ex­pec­ta­tions of the on­board ex­pe­ri­ence. That is the con­clu­sion from the third an­nual global In­flight Con­nec­tiv­ity Sur­vey, pub­lished re­cently 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, 60 per­cent of all pas­sen­gers say that in­flight Wi-Fi is now a ne­ces­sity rather than a lux­ury. Over half (56 per­cent) of pas­sen­gers in the Mid­dle East who have ex­pe­ri­enced high­qual­ity in­flight Wi-Fi rate it higher on their list of pri­or­i­ties than in­flight en­ter­tain­ment when choos­ing an air­line.

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 a third of Mid­dle East­ern re­spon­dents (36 per­cent) said they would stop us­ing their pre­ferred air­line within the next year if it did not of­fer con­nec­tiv­ity en­abling them to stream or browse online with­out in­ter­rup­tion.

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 and air­line brand for 46 per­cent of Mid­dle East­ern pas­sen­gers who have ex­pe­ri­enced high-qual­ity in­flight Wi-Fi.

What’s more, the abil­ity to re­main online and work dur­ing a flight is greatly im­prov­ing pas­sen­ger ex­pe­ri­ence, ac­cord­ing to more than half (56 per­cent) of all busi­ness trav­ellers who have pre­vi­ously used in­flight Wi-Fi.

The sur­vey re­flects the re­sponses of 9,000 air­line pas­sen­gers from 18 coun­tries across Europe, the Mid­dle East, Asia Pa­cific, and North and Latin America, and is the largest global pas­sen­ger sur­vey of its kind.

Ben Grif­fin, Vice Pres­i­dent, Mid­dle East, Africa and South Asia at In­marsat Avi­a­tion, said: “High­qual­ity in­flight Wi-Fi is chang­ing the way peo­ple think about fly­ing and how they spend their time in the air. 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 60 per­cent of pas­sen­gers be­lieve that in­flight Wi-Fi is a ne­ces­sity and no longer a lux­ury. This will only in­crease as more peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence in­flight con­nec­tiv­ity. It is clear the op­por­tu­nity that con­nec­tiv­ity presents to air­lines can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated.”

Mid­dle East Sur­vey High­lights

81 per­cent of Mid­dle East­ern pas­sen­gers would pay for in­flight con­nec­tiv­ity even on short-haul leisure flights, ris­ing to 85 per­cent for long-haul busi­ness flights

59 per­cent of Mid­dle East­ern pas­sen­gers agree that in­flight WiFi takes the anx­i­ety out of fly­ing be­cause they can stay in con­tact with peo­ple on the ground

36 per­cent of pas­sen­gers in the Mid­dle East said they would stop us­ing their pre­ferred air­line within the next year if they only of­fered poor qual­ity Wi-Fi

Busi­ness fly­ers in the Mid­dle East use Wi-Fi for both work and non-work rea­sons: 29 per­cent browse the web, 37 per­cent use so­cial net­works, 43 per­cent email and 20 per­cent use busi­ness tools

Leisure fly­ers love the free­dom to use a va­ri­ety of de­vices as they wish. The Mid­dle East has the high­est vol­ume of multi-de­vice us­age in all re­gions sur­veyed, with 66 per­cent of in­flight con­nec­tiv­ity users con­nect­ing more than one de­vice.

51 per­cent of Mid­dle East­ern pas­sen­gers would take ad­van­tage of the abil­ity to pur­chase items from the plane and col­lect them on ar­rival at the air­port.

27 per­cent of re­spon­dents in the re­gion would choose to have in­flight pur­chases de­liv­ered to their home.

In­marsat is trans­form­ing the global avi­a­tion in­dus­try by bring­ing com­plete con­nec­tiv­ity to ev­ery air­craft and flight path in the world. It is the first and only provider with a com­plete nextgen­er­a­tion High-Through­put Satel­lite (HTS) net­work span­ning the world. In­marsat is also the only avi­a­tion broad­band provider ca­pa­ble of con­nect­ing the com­plete air­craft from cabin to cock­pit. In­marsat’s world-lead­ing pas­sen­ger so­lu­tions are com­ple­mented by its in­dus­try-stan­dard cer­ti­fied safety and op­er­a­tions ser­vices. Pas­sen­gers can browse the in­ter­net, stream videos, check so­cial me­dia and more dur­ing flights, with an on-board con­nec­tiv­ity ex­pe­ri­ence on par with broad­band ser­vices avail­able on the ground.

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