US$33 billion share shift for airlines adapting to changing passenger behaviour

Airlines that innovate and provide the digital in-flight experience that passengers are seeking can access a US$33 billion in share shift from competitors, according to new economic modelling from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in association with Inmarsat.

This sum is predicted to grow to $45 billion in the next decade, by which time Generation Z (those born 1997 to 2012) is expected to be the airline industry’s largest customer base.

“Sky High Economics – Chapter Three: Capitalising on Changing Passenger Behaviour in a Connected World” examines the global shift underway in passenger demographics, behaviours and attitudes to loyalty.

The forecast is modelled using data from frequent flyer schemes, which reveal a market split into active, engaged frequent flyers (13%) and less engaged, brand-agnostic passengers (87%).

Dr Alexander Grous, Department of Media and Communications (LSE) and author of Sky High Economics, said: “The next decade presents both a huge opportunity and challenge for the global aviation industry. The technology and infrastructure are ready to meet the expectations of always-on travellers and it is up to airlines to seize this opportunity now, or risk falling behind their peers.”

Philip Balaam, president, Inmarsat Aviation said: “High-bandwidth Wi-Fi with consistent coverage is essential to meet the demands of data-hungry passengers – but adopting the technology is just the start. The real opportunity exists in making in-flight Wi-Fi an enabler for tailored passenger experiences, enhancing loyalty while accessing new revenue streams.”

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