Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecast (2021 - 2026)

The Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Market is Segmented by Product Type (Content, Hardware, and Connectivity), Fit (Retrofit, and Linefit), Class (Economy Class, Premium Economy Class, Business Class, and First Class), and Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Middle-East and Africa). The Report Offers Market Size and Forecasts by Value (USD billion) for the Above-mentioned Segments.

Market Snapshot

Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Market Overview
Study Period: 2018- 2026
Base Year: 2020
Fastest Growing Market: Asia Pacific
Largest Market: North America
CAGR: 6.45 %

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Market Overview

The Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Market was valued at USD 2.25 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 3.6 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 6.45% during the forecast period (2021-2026).

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a full-scale crisis with the imposition of travel restrictions and suspension of flights in a global effort to contain the spread of the virus. The aviation industry is in survival mode, crippled by the loss of traffic and revenues. According to the latest updates from IATA, ICAO, the Airports Council International (ACI), the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the international air passenger traffic in 2020 is expected to experience a drop of about 50-55% compared to 2020 baseline.

The increasing demand for streaming services led to passengers expecting both high-definition content and uninterrupted connectivity at their fingertips. Additionally, the widespread use of electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, led to a new trend of inflight connectivity and airlines offering Wi-Fi connectivity to passengers to access inflight and other entertainment content on their personal devices. This is a positive step for both the airlines and their customers. However, the imposition of lockdown and restrictive COVID-19 prevention methods drove down the demand for retrofitting old aircraft with new inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) technologies due to the slower than the anticipated recovery rate of passenger traffic.

Europe and Asia-Pacific are expected to be the worst hit in terms of international passenger traffic and revenues. Thus, airlines are deferring or canceling their order book, limiting the scope of growth of the market. Airlines resorted to premature fleet retirement to reduce operational costs. For instance, even after receiving USD 10.6 billion in government relief in April 2020, American Airlines still reported pandemic-related losses of about USD 70 million daily, resulting in the airline planning to retire its A330-300, B757, B767, and E190 aircraft. Some airlines are also deferring or canceling their order book to sustain liquidity, reducing the potential for both linefit and retrofit aspects of the market during the forecast period.

Scope of the Report

Inflight entertainment (IFE) refers to the entertainment available to aircraft passengers during a flight. In recent years, IFE has expanded to include inflight connectivity (IFC) services such as internet browsing, text messaging, cell phone usage (wherever permitted), and wireless streaming. They constitute the inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) systems.

The inflight entertainment and connectivity market is segmented by product type, fit, class, and geography. By product type, the market is segmented into content, hardware, and connectivity. By fit, the market has been segmented into retrofit and linefit. By class, the market has been segmented into economy class, business class, and first class.

Hardware includes display screens, remote controllers, headsets/earphones, Wi-Fi routers, antennas, and other connectivity systems. Content includes all games, shows and serials, movies, songs, and other audio and video entertainment. This segment also includes a software interface on the devices that makes IFEC available to customers.

Linefit is done on a new aircraft, which is delivered to the airline. Inflight entertainment and connectivity systems come preinstalled from the aircraft's original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Retrofit is a type of fit in which the inflight entertainment and connectivity services are further upgraded/refurbished on an existing aircraft, which is already undergoing operations. In a retrofit type of installment, the IFEC is upgraded to a further stage by the aircraft operators themselves to enhance the onboard experience of the passengers.

The report also covers the market sizes and forecasts for the Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Market across major regions. For each segment, the market sizing and forecasts have been done based on value (USD billion).

Product Type
Economy Class
Premium Economy Class
Business Class
First Class
North America
United States
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe
Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle-East and Africa
South Africa
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
Rest of Middle-East and Africa
Latin America
Rest of Latin America

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Key Market Trends

Connectivity Segment to Witness Rapid Growth During the Forecast Period

Inflight connectivity includes services like internet browsing, text messaging, cell phone usage (where permitted), and emailing. Most of the airlines, these days, started offering inflight Wi-Fi for passengers on select flights, based on the class they choose. Airlines that have onboard Wi-Fi are now putting efforts to make it better, faster, and cheaper. Inflight Wi-Fi has become a prominent means for inflight entertainment delivery. The growth in the content segment is also attributed to the increase of new IFEC equipment on the aircraft. Thus, the demand for the software has increased. Many android and proprietary software have emerged in the recent past, giving the airlines a plethora of options to choose from. However, as most software comes preinstalled with the hardware, hardware reliability plays a major role in the sales of the software. There is a growth in the adoption of wireless inflight entertainment (W-IFE) systems among the airlines, as W-IFE has almost the same onboard architecture as inflight connectivity, excluding the terminals required for a live connection. The wireless kit is fully embedded and requires supplemental type certification (STC). Due to the natural advantage of their expertise in wireless connectivity, IFC providers entered the W-IFE industry. The growth in W-IFE is also increasing the market for the IFC providers. Moreover, the growth in inflight entertainment generates demand for streaming data, driving the market for inflight connectivity.

Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Market Growth

Asia-Pacific to Witness the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period

Asia-Pacific’s commercial aviation sector made great strides in the past five years (before the outbreak of COVID-19), and further improvements are expected in the coming period. However, the COVID-19 pandemic sharply curtailed the industry growth prospects, with major aviation hubs reeling from substantial losses because of the imposed lockdown that crippled the industry temporarily.

Intending to offer advanced and sophisticated in-flight services to air passengers, airlines are focusing on integrating advanced and more sophisticated technologies in their aircraft fleet. The rising demand for IFEC systems is driving airlines to collaborate with IFEC system manufacturers to develop systems that promote the airline’s brand image. In September 2018, Hong Kong Airlines initiated the commercial operation of the first A350 equipped with the AVANT IFE system. The system features the Avii Touch Passenger Media Unit that provides intuitive navigation, offers a full android smartphone experience, and acts as a second entertainment screen. Since August 2019, Singapore Airlines Ltd (Singapore Airlines) is providing free Wi-Fi on its aircraft fleet of A350, A380, B777-300ER, and B787-10. The airline partnered with two Wi-Fi service providers, Panasonic and SITA OnAir, and it uses Inmarsat PLC’s (Inmarsat) GX network, which uses wireless routers to establish internet connectivity.

Regional governments are also formulating new regulations defining the scope of mobile device usage on an aircraft. In September 2019, Gogo and APT Mobile Satcom Limited signed an agreement to provide inflight connectivity (IFC) service for Chinese airlines with Gogo's industry-leading satellite connectivity solution, 2Ku. The partnership is expected to enable state-of-the-art network management services through APSATCOM's Network Operating Center (NOC) and data center in China, in tandem with Gogo's global Ku satellite network outside China. Such investments are expected to provide a positive outlook for the inflight entertainment and connectivity market in Asia-Pacific during the forecast period.

Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Market Share By Region

Competitive Landscape

The major players in the commercial aircraft inflight entertainment and connectivity market are Panasonic Corporation, Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., Gogo LLC, and Thales Group that accounted for nearly half of the market share. The revenues of the market players are also cyclic, as they are dependent on aircraft sales and airline retrofit programs. Gogo LLC increased its installed aircraft base in 2018 and successfully entered the Chinese commercial aviation IFEC market. As of mid-2019, Gogo’s IFEC systems were installed on over 3000 aircraft globally. The company’s growing consumer base is attributed to the improving connectivity services it offers to clients.

The IFEC system manufacturers invest in developing advanced associated systems to be integrated into modern aircraft to complement or enhance their characteristics, including safety and aesthetics. Such investments result in the companies being exposed to certain risks associated with design responsibility, new production tool development, increased capital and funding commitments, delivery schedules, and unique contractual requirements. Moreover, new aircraft programs may be prone to cost-overrun, delay, or termination, depending on the market conditions, which may affect the market prospects of the players during the forecast period.

Recent Developments

In February 2021, Qatar Airways announced the upgrade of its B787-8 Dreamliner fleet with the latest AVANT IFE systems from Thales. The upgrade includes the latest High Definition (HD) capacitive touch screen technology enabling passengers to seamlessly navigate the graphical user interface (GUI) using familiar gestures from their smartphone or tablet. Thales has developed an upgrade program to adapt the existing legacy system to incorporate new AVANT screens and servers into the existing seats and aircraft infrastructure. This turnkey approach includes delivery of full seat modification, hardware, the required certifications, and the ability to leverage media integration commonality across the Qatar Airways fleet equipped with AVANT.

In June 2020, Burrana unveiled its latest and most powerful IFE platform, RISE, which can solve the most challenging issues of the airlines regarding inflight entertainment while providing passengers with a unique inflight experience. The RISE platform is enabled by shared hardware and a common 48VDC power backbone, and each seatback display supports 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD), integrated single-pin audio, Bluetooth, Near Field Communication (NFC), and the airline’s choice between USB-C or the industry’s highest power USB-A offering.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

    3. 4.3 Market Restraints

    4. 4.4 Porter’s Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Consumers

      3. 4.4.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products and Services

      5. 4.4.5 Competitive Rivalry within the Industry

  5. 5. MARKET SEGMENTATION (Market Size by Value - USD billion)

    1. 5.1 Product Type

      1. 5.1.1 Content

      2. 5.1.2 Hardware

      3. 5.1.3 Connectivity

    2. 5.2 Fit

      1. 5.2.1 Retrofit

      2. 5.2.2 Linefit

    3. 5.3 Class

      1. 5.3.1 Economy Class

      2. 5.3.2 Premium Economy Class

      3. 5.3.3 Business Class

      4. 5.3.4 First Class

    4. 5.4 Geography

      1. 5.4.1 North America

        1. United States

        2. Canada

      2. 5.4.2 Europe

        1. United Kingdom

        2. France

        3. Germany

        4. Rest of Europe

      3. 5.4.3 Asia-Pacific

        1. China

        2. India

        3. Japan

        4. Australia

        5. Rest of Asia-Pacific

      4. 5.4.4 Middle-East and Africa

        1. South Africa

        2. Saudi Arabia

        3. United Arab Emirates

        4. Rest of Middle-East and Africa

      5. 5.4.5 Latin America

        1. Brazil

        2. Mexico

        3. Rest of Latin America

  6. 6. Competitive Landscape

    1. 6.1 Vendor Market Share

    2. 6.2 Company Profiles

      1. 6.2.1 Thales Group

      2. 6.2.2 Honeywell International Inc.

      3. 6.2.3 Global Eagle Entertainment Inc.

      4. 6.2.4 ViaSat Inc.

      5. 6.2.5 Gogo Inc.

      6. 6.2.6 Panasonic Corporation

      7. 6.2.7 Kontron S&T AG

      8. 6.2.8 Burrana Inc.

      9. 6.2.9 Safran SA

      10. 6.2.10 Lufthansa Systems GmbH & Co. KG

      11. 6.2.11 Inmarsat Global Limited

      12. 6.2.12 Stellar Entertainment Group


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Frequently Asked Questions

The In Flight Entertainment and Connectivity Market market is studied from 2018 - 2026.

The In Flight Entertainment and Connectivity Market is growing at a CAGR of 6.45% over the next 5 years.

The In Flight Entertainment and Connectivity Market is valued at 2 Billion USD in 2018.

The In Flight Entertainment and Connectivity Market is valued at 3 Billion USD in 2026.

Asia Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2021- 2026.

North America holds highest share in 2020.

Thales Group, Honeywell International Inc., Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., Gogo Inc., Panasonic Corporation are the major companies operating in In Flight Entertainment and Connectivity Market.

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