Monday, 11 February 2008

Hot Stuff: Banner Year For In-Flight Technology, Says IMDC

One of the most prominent consultancy firms in the in-flight entertainment and communication industry, Inflight Management Development Centre (IMDC), has released its latest forecast for 2008-2012. And the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA), in its own quarterly Avion magazine, has been good enough to break down some of the key points as follows:

  • Over 16,000 commercial jets are expected to be delivered over the period 2007-2012. Over 3,000 of these will be line-fitted with IFE.

  • The total value of line-fit IFE is estimated at over $4.6 billion for the period.

  • During 2007, airline expenditures on IFE hardware alone represented about $1.45 billion.

  • Another key milestone during 2007 was that airline expenditures in the seat market were expected to break through the $1 billion barrier.

  • 2008 is expected to be a very busy year for in-flight technology in general. It will most probably be a record year in terms of airline expenditures.

  • A number of connectivity solutions will enter operation during 2008. We are expecting rapid take-up rates in specific competitive markets such as North America, transatlantic and the Middle East.

  • Portable IFE had a relatively small base of $75 million for 2007. We expect double-digit growth for the next two to three years. Howeer, there will be consolidation in this sector as suppliers implement new business models.

Last September, at WAEA’s annual event, former IATA head – and current Thales Canada chairman - Pierre Jeanniot noted that the entire cabin environment is becoming a “driving force of airline business success”.

Though difficult to quantify an exact return on investment, he said, “investing in premium service is simply mandatory for any carrier committed to remain a credible player in that market segment”.

In light of IMDC's forecast, it appears that Jeanniot’s assessment of the industry was bang-on.

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