A year ago there was very little for suppliers to be confident about as the commercial aviation sector collapsed. But many held firm that the recovery would be good for business. Eventually.
Airlines would see the value in providing a better passenger experience and find a way to invest in that as they resumed service. That optimism appears to be bearing fruit, at least for a couple companies in the IFE/C space.
For moving maps specialist FlightPath3D the pandemic was not all bad news. The company announced its 3,000th equipped aircraft this week. Moreover, it anticipates an accelerated growth curve coming out of the winter.
Company president Duncan Jackson says many of its customers are quickly pushing towards 2019 travel levels on domestic operations. Along with that recovery he’s “optimistic about the market and expect to surpass 4,000 aircraft within a year.”
That’s massive growth in a market that typically does not see major turnover. Hitting coming out of the pandemic-induced slowdown would be even more impressive.
FlightPath3D’s CEO Boris Veksler is confident in that target, however. He notes the resumption of 737MAX deliveries and flights bring about the opportunity for many more aircraft to be fitted with the company’s moving maps. Getting some of the now-idle Norwegian 787s back in the air under the Norse Atlantic branding should see the maps return there, as well.
The company’s expansion into helicopters opens up an VTOL market, while the deal with Gogo’s Business Aviation unit adds another significant potential market for growth.
Making moving maps make money
But the company is also looking beyond just getting the maps on board. Over the past several years FligthPath3D invested significantly in developing monetization options that integrate with the mapping platform. That angle now takes center stage.
Veksler sees an opportunity “to help airlines with their recovery with new apps to facilitate passenger interests to be matched to destinations, and flights or activities matched with traveler motivations.”
The company is not alone in pursuing this effort. Panasonic Avionics brought its Arc Maps system online with Vistara‘s 787 fleet. Other vendors similarly talk about tweaking the IFE experience with better ad targeting and other revenue-generation solutions.
Thus far it is mostly talk and little in the way of demonstrable value to airlines. Lots of ideas are in discussion but nothing seems to have stuck yet. As the industry emerges with what airlines and suppliers alike believe will be a newly digital-focused passenger base, perhaps these ideas will start to gain some traction.
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