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How business aviation will use inflight connectivity in a post-Covid world

Aviation

An Inmarsat and CJI survey of business aviation professionals provided unique insights into how the industry has fared since the pandemic and where it is heading.

The impact of Covid-19 on the global aviation industry has been unprecedented. However, with travel restrictions continuing to ease and passengers returning to the skies, how has the business aviation industry fared over the past 18 months? And subsequently, what can be expected in the next 12 months and beyond? Inmarsat partnered with Corporate Jet Investor (CJI) to survey business aviation professionals from across world and discover their views on these pertinent questions.

The majority of respondents agreed that demand for business aviation travel will continue to rise in the next year, with eight in 10 believing that more frequent flights will be taken. The business aviation sector has been one of the few to stand up robustly in the face of the pandemic and bounce back quicker than most, a sentiment clearly seen as set to continue. However, opinion is more divided when it comes to what we might expect regarding the range of flights taken. Of the 79% who believe more frequent business aviation flights will be taken, 51% believe these will be over decreased ranges and 28% think we will see a trend towards increased ranges. 

 

Chartered flying will continue to drive demand

In what is a continued trend from a previous survey conducted by Inmarsat and CJI in 2020, more than half of respondents (54%) believe the biggest demand for business aviation over the next year will come from the charter market, comfortably ahead of the next most popular options: membership, used ownership and jet cards.

When it comes to new entrants into the business aviation market, first-time corporates (37%) and first-time Ultra High Net Worth Individuals - UHNWIs (30%) are seen as most likely to enter the sector. In comparison, trading up to ownership by UHNWIs and corporates were selected by 17% and 16% of respondents, respectively.

Principals eager to stay connected in the air – for business and leisure

The relevance of the passenger experience has never been more important for these most discerning of air travellers. When asked which behaviours they believe will increase in importance for Principals in the next year, over 90% of respondents stated that behaviours relating to online activities will grow.  Interestingly, they anticipate a fairly even split of this increase in importance between business-related online activities (51%) and leisure activities with connected devices (41%).

As the last 18 months have highlighted for everyone in the working world, achieving the right balance of when to switch off from work has become a more conscious ambition for many. Being able to relax with your favourite TV show, watch the big match live or video call your loved ones on the journey home is just as important as knowing that your connected office in the sky is as effective as on the ground.

When we look back at the fact that many in the industry expect new entrants into the industry over the next year to be first timers, it’s clear that fast, reliable and global inflight connectivity can prove to be an effective differentiator. In a world where predictability is the ultimate luxury, ensuring that the experience onboard your jet is the same standard of excellence each and every time can help you to stand out from the rest.

Inmarsat’s market-leading business aviation connectivity solutions are designed for these challenging demands. Jet ConneX, the only global, high-speed, purpose-built connectivity service for business aviation, guarantees coverage and a predictable high standard of performance wherever Principals want to fly. SwiftBroadband is a proven, dependable way to stay connected and has been the world’s leading ELERA L-band business aviation service since 2009.

Gold standard connectivity can help preserve your investment in times of change

At the recent CJI Global virtual event, Inmarsat’s Head of Business Aviation, Kai Tang, shared his view on predictability and what that means in a world that feels like it’s in constant flux. It’s his belief that Principals are always finding newer ways to use connectivity on the plane. In fact, he is firm in his view that data demand and data consumption – that were rising before the pandemic – won’t just level off as we come out of this Covid era. “We don't expect, and I don't think anyone does, that as we continue to see a relaxing of restrictions across the world, this won't just get back to its pre-pandemic levels and stay there,” he argues. “It will continue to rise at the rate that we were seeing before that.”

And this is where Inmarsat’s business aviation connectivity solutions come into their own. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen 99.8% of Principal data demands being met. This level of consistency is real-world proof of Inmarsat’s global mobility and reliability, and of a company with the ability to adapt to shifting customer patterns to ensure that connectivity capacity always travels with a Principal, with the same level of excellence they’ve come to expect.

When it comes to preparing for the future, Tang offers sage advice, “An inflight connectivity system is an important investment on the aircraft,” he says. “It’s too important to compromise on quality or experience. A futureproofed solution preserves the value of the plane.”

Respondents of our CJI survey shared views on different aspects of the industry, all of which are included in the accompanying infographic, but one point remains clear. The world of business aviation is constantly evolving and choosing a partner with a proven track record of delivering excellence in passenger satisfaction and experience, will mean you’re never caught off guard.

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