Frontier Airlines’ new owner believes embeddedin-flight entertainment will play a diminishing role as in-flightconnectivity is adopted by carriers.
Speaking to journalists yesterday at the Regional Airline Association(RAA) convention in Milwaukee, Bryan Bedford, chief executive ofFrontier parent Republic Airways, said: “How much of the media [nowonboard] will go portable? [I think we will] see reduced demand for IFEand more for connectivity.”
Frontier is equipping its E-Jets with Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi. Asked byRWG if Frontier will also equip its Airbus narrowbodies with theservice, Bedford said the carrier will make that decision “six to ninemonths” after testing Gogo on the E-Jets.
Bedford is a big fan of the LiveTV offered on Frontier’s A318s, A319sand A320s, but he doesn’t see a place for it on the E-Jets. “The LiveTVtake rate on sectors over two hours is quite substantial. Under twohours is not as robust,” he says.
He notes that technology is moving quickly. “Who knows what technology will bring us in 2011 onboard [aircraft].”
Republic, meanwhile, has aligned the delivery dates of its CSeriesaircraft with existing expiration dates on Frontier’s Airbus A319s.
The first of 40 CSeries CS300s will be delivered to Frontier in the second quarter of 2015.
Bedford says the single-class 138-seat aircraft gives Frontier hugeflexibility to either “stay neutral” by accepting CSeries deliverieswhile returning A319s to their owners or to grow by extending the A319leases.
So will Frontier offer in-flight connectivity on its CSeries? It seemslikely. Whether live television will continue to be part of theFrontier offering in the coming years appears to be the big question mark,however, especially as A319s exit the fleet.