Alliance for Passenger Connectivity Brings In-Flight Connectivity Closer
The in-flight entertainment and communications (IFE&C) industry received a boost today following the launch of an online Toolkit for Regulators from the Alliance for Passenger Connectivity (APC) at www.stay-connected.org.
The toolkit addresses the problems that IFE&C providers face gaining approvals from national regulatory authorities. Practices vary significantly from country to country, which means different rules are adopted by adjacent countries and within regions - and amongst those on the same flight path.
The high compliance costs are ultimately passed onto the end user, in the process increasing the burden on service providers and restricting the availability of broadband and GSM connectivity to airline passengers.
‘The toolkit initiative is a great example of how companies can work productively with regulators in an open dialogue' said Anita Kartic, Chair of the Alliance for Passenger Connectivity. ‘Effective regulations are key to the success of this industry and it's our responsibility as service providers to ensure that fair and proportionate practices are adopted globally' she added.
Ms. Kartic also highlighted the role of the toolkit in enhancing the user experience:
‘"With the adoption of harmonized licensing practices, airlines will no longer be forced to turn off the system as they fly overhead. This would enhance the user experience - as well as the revenues generated from innovative and commercially-demanded services. This is why we are reaching out to regulators, to ensure that consistent approaches are taken to enable such services."
Passenger Connectivity systems have several features in common that set them apart from systems provided on the ground.
For example, their reach is limited to passengers and crew on aircraft that have systems installed on them, not the non-travelling public. Stringent safety requirements require that the systems are certified to operate under strict safety parameters so that interference is not caused to onboard systems.
IFE&C services cater to aircraft passengers who enjoy video and music entertainment, or want to use Internet, voice, data or GPRS services to maintain contact with work, family and friends while airborne.
The IFE&C industry is estimated to grow to $2.72 billion by 2012 (Frost & Sullivan), with a number of airlines currently selecting new suites of services by which they intend to differentiate their service.