Hot on the heels of the announcement that their modular OneFi upgrade, OneFi bundles, is set to make its Expo debut this week in Long Beach, CA, Inmarsat announced yesterday that the 2022 Passenger Experience Survey is dropping this week as well.
APEX Media sat down with Inmarsat Aviation President, Niels Steenstrup, on the eve of the Expo to learn more.
APEX: Your 2022 Passenger Experience Survey surveyed 11,000 people in 10 countries about their confidence getting back into the skies. Without giving too much away, what were the key takeaways? What’s the mood like out there?
STEENSTRUP: We were happy to see that regardless of geography, age, or reason for traveling, air passengers’ confidence has grown enormously across the board – with travelers 8 times more confident flying than this time last year.
The only slight outlier was South Korea, where just over half of passengers feel confident flying again post-pandemic – which is still a huge jump from 2021 – whereas globally, that number was more than 4 in 5. This is no doubt thanks to the hard work that so many airlines have put into welcoming back passengers and making their flying experiences as safe, comfortable and seamless as possible.
APEX: Along those same lines, how do you think the pandemic has changed air travel, not just for airlines but for passengers as well? What are the PaxEx expectations like now versus before?
STEENSTRUP: What we found really interesting is that so many more passengers are reliant on their personal devices when traveling now – 97% of our respondents. There is very much a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ mindset among passengers now, whether they want to work, chat with friends and family, watch TV and movies, or all three. But what unites them all is the need to be connected through fast and reliable inflight Wi-Fi.
We saw the greatest numbers yet of passengers wanting to connect and seeing Wi-Fi as important to them when they fly – more than three-quarters said so. We’ve been surveying passengers for six years now, so this really shows how much passengers’ expectations have changed since the pandemic, and how much the IFEC industry needs to do to keep pace with this. The report also explores expectations around price, advertising, speeds, and more, so there really is a lot to digest!
APEX: Sounds like it. Aside from the survey, what else will Inmarsat be highlighting at the Expo this year?
STEENSTRUP: On our stand we’re showcasing our OneFi customer experience platform, with live demos so you can experience it as a passenger would. We created OneFi to help airlines enhance the passenger experience while also creating new revenue generation opportunities at the same time – and it’s great for us to get hands-on feedback at the EXPO and see people experiencing the platform for themselves. We just launched our modular OneFi offering, made up of six unique bundles spanning entertainment, loyalty, shopping, and more – so we look forward to introducing people to the all-new custom OneFi, too.
We’ll also be showcasing our award-winning GX Aviation solution, which is being enhanced even further to continue providing truly global coverage, reliability, and high speeds to our customers. We’d love to chat to people about how GX is the foundation for Inmarsat ORCHESTRA, our multi-dimensional network. As part of this, we have new GX 7, 8 and 9 satellites set to launch from 2024, GX 10a and 10b launching next year, and two I-6 satellites coming into service next year – all of which will provide exponential growth in capacity and coverage – delivering thousands of simultaneous independent satellite beams to aircraft with laser-like precision across the globe in real time. We’ll also be ready to discuss how we’re proud to be a first move innovator with Airbus’ HBCplus, as its first Managed Service Provider.
APEX: Talk to me about what it’s like to be back at a fully in-person Expo after so long. What are you most looking forward to at the show?
STEENSTRUP: It’s really fantastic to be back at the Expo this year, not only to see so many old colleagues and friends again, but also to celebrate such a successful year for the aviation industry. The sector’s recovery is certainly back in full swing, and we’re really excited to meet with customers and partners to plan how we can do even more for passengers. We’re also looking forward to talking to people about our latest innovations and seeing others’ in action too.