Image: Seamless Air Alliance

The Seamless Air Alliance has had a busy year since launching 12 months ago. It now has five times as many members as it did upon launching. By the end of 2019, it aims to demonstrate a working concept of how passengers will be able to connect to in-flight Wi-Fi without login pages or paywalls.

The Seamless Air Alliance announced five new members during this week’s World Mobile Congress in Barcelona: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran and SITAONAIR. Since its first meeting in June last year, which was co-located with APEX TECH in Los Angeles, it has seen a five-fold increase in its membership, growing to 23 companies.

The alliance was formed by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint at last year’s World Mobile Congress. Air France–KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes joined soon after, in addition to communications equipment manufacturers, mobile networks and satellite operators including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic.

“The passenger experience with in-flight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges.” – Jack Mandala, Seamless Air Alliance

The Airbus-led consortium said it is working toward developing a demonstration of its vision for an improved in-flight connectivity experience by the end of this year. Its aim is for passengers to be able to use their own personal electronic devices “to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.”

The alliance now has its own research laboratory setup and three working groups focused on writing specifications for the technology, requirements and operations, respectively.

It also released a new research study during this year’s World Mobile Congress that outlines the economic benefits that it thinks will accrue from standardizing the in-flight connectivity market. It argues that standardization will result in a 5% improvement in take-up rate of in-flight connectivity, a 5% reduction in the cost-per-session when using in-flight Wi-Fi, a 5% reduction in operating expenses and a 5% reduction in capital equipment costs. According to the study, this 5% impact across the four areas, has the potential to increase the value of the in-flight connectivity market by $11.4 billion

“The passenger experience with in-flight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From day one we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the in-flight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said Jack Mandala, Seamless Air Alliance’s CEO. “I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organizations continue to join us.”

Ari is the news editor at APEX Media.