Growing demand from business aviation is predicted to be one of the few bright spots for the in-flight entertainment (IFE) and communications industry in the year ahead as airlines cut their IFE budgets in the poor economic environment, says consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

In 2002, IFE and communications market revenues were $2.18 billion, of which commercial aviation accounted for 92.4% and business aviation 7.6%. The latter's share of the market is growing and is expected to continue to rise as security issues and delays push more businesses towards buying corporate jets, participating in fractional ownership programmes or using air taxi and charter services, says Frost & Sullivan.

The emergence of affordable direct broadcast satellite-delivered content and the potential of wireless cabin local area network developments is also expected to sustain the IFE sector, says the report.

Satellite-delivered audio and video programming is already common on business jets, but this trend is expected to move into commercial airliners as such systems have the potential to reduce weight on board and cut fuel costs, says Frost & Sullivan.

Source: Flight International