Business / Industries

Chinese airlines look to speed up Wi-Fi innovation for passengers

By Du Xiaoying ( Updated: 2016-07-14 16:01

Despite in-flight Wi-Fi connection among Chinese airlines being lower than that of airlines in the United States, Chinese passengers have a strong appetite to stay connected while in the air, said Honeywell Aerospace, aircraft hardware and avionics system provider.

"With China's fast-growing aviation market and strong demand for air travel, we can expect airlines to continue to use in-flight Wi-Fi as a way to appeal to the country's internet-hungry travelers", said Brian Davis, vice president of Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific region.

According to Davis, Honeywell is working with Air China on the installation and test flight of the GX Aviation, an in-flight Wi-Fi service, on Air China's A330 later this year.

He said several other Chinese airlines have also shown interest in the service.

Earlier this week, Honeywell released an in-flight connectivity report after asking 1,008 passengers in the United States about their opinions and experiences with the service.

The survey found out that US passengers are more miserable with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings compared to two years ago, only 22 percent of interviewee found their Wi-Fi service to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.

"Consistent, faster in-flight connectivity is a must. If an airline isn't prioritizing this, passengers will switch airlines to find better Wi-Fi", said Carl Esposito, vice-president of Honeywell Aerospace.

Wi-Fi is the premium service traveler's demand, and passengers will select another airline over their preferred choice, the report said.

It said 21 percent have already abandoned their preferred airline for an option with better in-flight Wi-Fi (up from 17 percent in 2014). And 68 percent of travelers say in-flight Wi-Fi impacts how they book their flights.

More millennials, born between 1982 and 1998, than older generations (73 percent versus 63 percent) say Wi-Fi availability impacts their booking choices. Even more millennials find it important to have fast speed to stream content (89 percent versus 77 percent), and have switched from their preferred airline to an airline with better in-flight Wi-Fi options (27 percent versus 15 percent), the report said.

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