European air carriers are rushing to offer Internet access via Wi-Fi on board aircraft, the desire to attract new passengers and create a new source of revenue through entertainment, and advertising services, Reuters.
Passengers traveling with US airlines already benefit from free Wi-Fi on 66% of miles flown, compared to a global average of 24%, according to data supplied by Routehappy. Europe, however, the adoption of Internet services for ground-to-air type is more difficult than in the US because of the number of countries in the region, while services based on satellite Internet proved too expensive for flights short distances. Since the number of satellites in orbit is increasing, leading to lower costs and airlines are increasingly aware of the possibilities of making money, the price is no longer an insurmountable obstacle, analysts say.
Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, Ryanair and Vueling are some of the major European airlines will offer Wi-Fi on board short-haul flights, following the example of low-cost Norwegian company that provides free Internet 74 of the 76 Boeing 737 aircraft in its fleet.
Besides the fact that they can charge passengers extra for that TV watching and listening to music on their mobile devices during flight, airlines can use connectivity on board to enable them to make purchases and reservations at restaurants and hotels in cooperation with advertisers and partners.
Global Eagle with Orange group, will soon launch a payment system based aboard the two aircraft belonging to Air France A320 and believes that the opportunities generated wireless Internet industry could increase revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.