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AIX2010: Connectivity the future, says Emirates’ Clark

AIRCRAFT INTERIORS 2010: With laptop internet usage on board aircraft being utilised by 8 out of 10 people on Emirates, the airline’s president Tim Clark believes connectivity is the key to the future of inflight offerings for airlines.

The use of that data connectivity compares with only about 3 out of 10 passengers using the connectivity on Emirates’ fleet for calls using thier own mobile phones, Clark noted during the panel discussion “Preparing for the Upturn”. In Clark’s opinion, that upturn should come in the next 18-24 months. “Most areas will see some growth by then. The only exception is Europe if it gets stuck with situations like those in Greece and Spain,” he commented.

According to Bob Lange, head of aircraft interiors marketing–customer affairs at Airbus, the low-fare airline market is still showing strong growth. “And they are just as focussed on differentiation within the cabin,” he noted. “Anything that can differentiate their product is valuable, such as the focus on ancillary revenues. So we’ll see some differential pricing for the onboard services they offer.”

Ben Bettell, business development director with Premium Aircraft Interiors Group highlighted the fact that aircraft manufacturers had worked well on dwitching deliveries around to ensure that production dropped only slightly. “What we have to prepare for though, is the retrofit market,” Bettell warned, adding that some suppliers might find it difficult to respond.

The general feeling is that the interiors and IFE industries are well placed to take advantage as the climb out of the slump begins to take hold.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Inflight Online/Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews,net

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