Posted on: 31 January 2018 by Kimberley Young
A report by Routehappy has found that Wi-Fi is accessible on nearly half (43%) of all available seat miles (ASM) worldwide, a 10% rise on last year’s report.
The Routehappy 2018 Wi-Fi Report found that 82 airlines worldwide now offer in-flight Wi-Fi. Routehappy also observed that 12 additional airlines now offer in-flight Wi-Fi, representing a 17% increase from the 2017 report.
The top three airlines that offer the most ASMs with Wi-Fi are Delta, American and Emirates respectively. While three carriers, Icelandair, Southwest and Virgin Atlantic, now offer Wi-Fi on 100% of their flights and 13 airlines globally offer Wi-Fi on 100% of long-haul flights including Etihad, United, Eurowings and Scoot.
Routehappy said the installation and operational cost of Wi-Fi systems has dropped to a level that is accessible to more airlines. At the same time, many smaller airlines are beginning to renew their fleets and opting for new aircraft with Wi-Fi installed from assembly.
The report highlighted that while passengers expect in-flight Wi-Fi from large airlines, some smaller airlines have now begun offering connectivity as well. In 2017, smaller airlines that began offering connectivity included Air Astana from Kazakhstan, Air Côte d’Ivoire from the Ivory Coast, and Air Mauritius from Mauritius.
The ‘Best Wi-Fi’ is now available on 16% of ASMs worldwide, which represents a 129% increase from the 2017 report. ‘Basic Wi-Fi saw a 16% drop from last year, representing 27% of ASMs, while ‘better Wi-Fi’ remains the most common type at 57% of ASMs, although Routehappy noted that this is “losing ground” as airlines upgrade existing systems or start afresh with ‘Best Wi-Fi’.
“2017 was another progressive year for in-flight Wi-Fi, with a large increase in the amount of airlines that provide Wi-Fi access, on top of the growing availability of nearly half the available seat miles worldwide,” said Robert Albert, CEO of Routehappy. “The 129% growth of Best Wi-Fi is extraordinary, it shows the commitment airlines are making to best in class systems and we expect to see this number increase even more in 2018.”
“Routehappy’s exhaustive analysis with Wi-Fi adoption approaching 50% of available seat miles worldwide demonstrates how far airlines and their connectivity providers have gone to serve passengers,” APEX CEO Joe Leader said, adding, “The depth of data and information that Routehappy tracks about in-flight Wi-Fi is unparalleled in the industry, we can see from this report that in-flight connectivity worldwide has now advanced beyond leading airlines to mainstream acceptance driven by airline passenger demand.”