In-flight Entertainment is an entertainment service provided to aircraft travelers to enrich their experience. The idea of the service was conceived in the 1900s. In 1936 when airship Hindenburg offered smoking room, dining room, bar, etc. to its passengers it marked the beginning of a new era of IFE. Over the years, the services have evolved owing to different factors. The most common form of in-flight entertainment offered nowadays are food and drink services. Depending on the long duration of the travels, the aircraft lines owners might enhance their service offerings.
Technology has a key role to play in the offerings of in-flight entertainment services. After the second world war, an occasional projector movie was screened for lengthy flight travel. In 1985, personal audio players were offered. The service providers took one step further in 1989 with the provision for noise-canceling headphones. However, it was in 1990s that in-flight entertainment services became a consideration for aircraft cabins’ design. This paved the way for the modern-day in-flight services such as private TV screens.
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These days, airline owners are emphasizing on the provision for premium services for in-flight entertainment to the travelers. Passenger experience has become a key parameter for the travelers to differentiate between the airlines, apart from prices. In order to stand out and attract more travelers, airlines are directing their efforts towards the enrichment of their entertainment services. Case to the point is, Emirates, one of the leading airlines of the world, has partnered with France-born music streaming company, Deezer, in order to provide for exclusive playlists to its passengers.
The technological advancements in aircraft designs are likely to attract investments for renovation. This, in turn, is anticipated to motivate the redesigning and renovation for advanced entertainment features. All these factors are likely to act as a growth propeller for the in-flight entertainment industry. To illustrate, JetBlue has partnered with a few companies recently to expand its content available for the passengers. The company had built its brand identity on having seatback screens at every seat. It is a proven example of how crucial these in-flight entertainment facilities are for building brands.
The key players in the global In-Flight Entertainment Market are FDS Avionics Corp (US), Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (US), Gogo Inc. (US), Honeywell International Inc. (US), Inmarsat PLC (UK), Lufthansa Systems (Germany), Panasonic Avionics Corporation (US), Collins Aerospace (US), SITAONAIR (Switzerland), Thales Group (France), Viasat Inc. (US), and Zodiac Aerospace (France).
The new trend ongoing in the industry is the option of plug-and-play with own devices. Also, the availability of handpicked movies and music is likely to revolutionize the popularity of the services over the next couple of years. It can be rightly said that the growth of the video and music streaming companies is has a major influence on the expansion of these services being offered. Key players in the aviation industry are emphasizing on growth strategies such as agreements, collaborations, partnerships strategic alliances, etc. to capitalize on the opportunities and gain an edge for themselves over others.
The fact that the income levels have been steadily rising has led to an exponential growth in the air traffic on the global front. Also, it has been seen to boost the growth of the tourism industry. The boom witnessed in the tourism industry is projected to create more opportunities for in-flight entertainment services. The expansion of the aviation industry is projected to influence the IFE services greatly. Increasing airline services, rising purchases of new aircraft, etc. are some other factors that can motivate the implementation of these services on a large-scale.
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The developed economies are at a better place for offering more advanced features in their flights for entertainment. International flights, owing to long durations of journeys, are better equipped with IFE systems. The domestic flights in developing economies are also gaining momentum to catch up with their international counterparts. This, in turn, is the major drive of the industry for the next few years.
Technological advancements such as AR and VR among others have opened new growth avenues. The adoption of these advancing technologies is supposed to catapult the industry on a higher growth trajectory in the coming years.
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