Report & feedback about the USAIRE Conference on Connectivity (Nov. 2017) by Ainur MAIUSSOVA

Author: Ainur Maiussova, Aerospace MBA Delegate, FT19

USAIRE Conference and Connectivity

On the 17th of November 2017 the USAIRE South West-Chapter gathered at the Palladia Hotel in Toulouse/Blagnac. Under the topic of satellite communications and aircraft connectivity, roundabout 45 professionals from the transatlantic aerospace industry gathered to listen to Mr. Pacôme Révillon, CEO of Euroconsult.

The presentation urge experienced by a multitude of airline customers to remain connected even when cruising at 30.000ft, the utilization and sophistication of satellite communications has been advancing rapidly in the recent past and is set to continue this development. The key aspects concerning connectivity are speed and capacity. Since users are accustomed to high speed connections on the ground, service in the air is expected to be of comparative levels. Nowadays we are talking of capacity that average 1 TB/S, yet this number is expected to reach 3 to 1 0 TB/S by 2022. This capacity addition will be reached by high-throughput satellites (HTS) as well as mega-constellations.

Concerning the application of connectivity within airlines, the offer is already widespread with Tier One airlines as well as several low-cost carriers. Since more and more providers are offering this service, it is pivotal for each company to follow up on the competition to avoid losing customers to better connected rivals. The question, however, is the distribution of cost. Should an airline finance itself the implementation and usage of the network or should the cost be shared with the passengers that wish to connect. Additionally, depending on the routing of an aircraft, capacity might be limited since not all areas are covered by satellites. The same applies to Air-To-Ground (ATG) technology as not every region features the necessary infrastructure. With the advancement of the technology it is expected that this coverage will significantly increase and soon global coverage can be reached with a combination of space-borne and ground-borne units.

The expansion of airline connectivity will take place especially in the US, which is already at the forefront of this development and currently looking into 2nd generation technology with an estimate of 8 ,299 aircrafts connected by 2026. Following closely are the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, with an expected connected fleet of 6,1 20 airplanes and 6,31 8 respectively. In terms of usage, according to Mr Révillon we are currently only scratching the surface of what is possible. Applications can be imagined in the fields of air traffic control, operation optimization, health monitoring, tracking and weather information.

What else should you know about industry?

How satellites are operated?

Evolution of SATCOM markets in numbers

  • Ratio of connected aircraft in relation to total addressable market of commercial aircraft is to grow from 22% in 2016 to 59% by 2026.
  • Number of airlines offering in-flight connectivity changed from 32 in 2012 to 78 in 2017.
  • Number of connected aircraft is to grow from 6800 aircraft in 2017 by more than 24000 aircraft by 2016.
  • Number of commercial aircraft equipped with VSAT (Ku and Ka-band) is to grow from 3200 (out of 6500) in 2016 to 10300 (out of 15000) by 2020.
  • 14 of 78 connected airlines include a free Wi-Fi plan in their offering.
  • Types of free Wi-Fi on board: free messaging; some X MB free; free web surfing; class types complimentary; free for all.
  • Leaders of aero market service providers are Gogo, Panasonic, and Global Eagle.

There is a believe that Connectivity is everywhere – from our homes to our cars to our offices to airplanes, and everywhere in between. It’s no longer acceptable to be “out of range.” Connectivity is in its early adoption stage and will be rapidly developing. Will connectivity, connected aircraft and big data analysis set new rules for aerospace business?

Special thanks to USAIRE South West Chapter, Toulouse Business School, Dr. Christophe Bénaroya, Johann Gies and Juan Lorenzo Emmanuelli for interesting event and some food for thoughts!


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