CJI Asia: Connectivity is thriving with lockdown upgrades

Yves Le Marquand

Business aviation’s connectivity segment is thriving as demand grows and many operators have upgraded services during Covid-19 lockdown anticipating returning travellers, according to Stephane Aliaga, senior manager, Collins Aerospace.

He told Corporate Jet Investor Asia 2020 delegates whereas in previous years you could allocate one device to one passenger, it’s now three or four or sometimes more. “So, the demand for services is thriving. We have seen flights where four to five gigabytes of data was used per hour, which is huge. There are two components to that: we need to have solutions that enable that connectivity and there needs to be the demand.

“Connectivity was very important before but, with the new normal, it’s even more so now. We are seeing this with charter operators that now it is a must-have.”

Aliaga said Collins has seen many operators upgrade their connectivity services onboard aircraft during the lull in activity during the initial stages of the pandemic. “The response will be different from operator-to-operator but we have seen a lot taking advantage of the aircraft being down to get upgraded with connectivity solutions. We could have thought the market would be waning with no great opportunity for upgrades or investment. But it has been the opposite.”

Giuseppe Ferraioli, senior sales manager, SES Networks, which partnered with Collins and Vista Global to launch LuxStream connectivity service in September last year, joined Aliaga on the panel.

Ferraioli said a new trend he has seen emerging is greater control from the end user. “We are observing that the end user is gaining more and more control when it comes to choices for in-flight connectivity. Up to a year ago essentially there was almost no alternatives, but that changed with the introduction of LuxStream.”

“The end user, whether it’s a fleet operator, a private owner, or a head of state, they are really looking now for the highest possible speed because as Stephane mentioned you want to be connected on as many devices as possible and doing the same things that you are doing on the ground.”

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