Tablets to Replace Traditional In-Flight Entertainment Devices
In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) is a major part of an airlines marketing program and affects pricing of the seats along with the overall experience. It is the most cumbersome of the services provided by airlines during flight and needs regular and constant upgrade and maintenance.
According to Ravi Madavaram, Aerospace & Defense Consultant for Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific, a 5-star rated airline commonly upgrades the IFE every 4-5 years to provide the latest and best-in-class in-flight service.
"IFE also forms a major part of line maintenance during transit checks which maintain or upgrade the IFE system attached to the seats. Panasonic is the market leader in the IFE systems and has collaborations with most airlines," he said.
AirAsia is the first airline to introduce tablets as IFE in Southeast Asia and is also the first to provide it as an add-on package to their existing revenue line.
"This will trigger more low cost airlines as well as full service carriers to adopt tablets as IFE. The airline industry spends about US$1.2 billion a year for IFE maintenance. With the advent of tablets into this space, the dynamics of this segment will alter significantly in the next few years," said Ravi.
He continued, "Panasonic is the current market leader in this segment and Samsung has been relatively unknown. Given the advantages of tablets, it is expected that Samsung would gain significant market share rapidly in the near future."
With tablets replacing traditional IFE devices, the whole value chain will see a major change. This opens a new revenue stream in addition to food, insurance and seat allocation revenues for low cost carriers and one which is relatively easier to adopt. Hence, adoption is expected to be rapid. American Airlines, AirAsia have adopted the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 while Qantas has adopted iPads, provided by Panasonic.
"The dynamics of the industry will alter significantly with Samsung making major inroads into the market. The service providers, maintenance technologies and processes will alter according to changes in the industry," Ravi added.