A report by Routehappy has found that nearly half (43%) of all available seat miles (ASM) worldwide now offer at least a chance of wi-fi, a 10% rise from last year’s report.

The Routehappy 2018 Wi-Fi Report highlighted that while passengers expect larger global airlines will provide in-flight wi-fi, some smaller airlines have now begun offering connectivity as well. In 2017, smaller airlines that began offering connectivity included Air Astana from Kazakhstan, Air Côte d’Ivoire from the Ivory Coast, and Air Mauritius from Mauritius.

Routehappy said the installation and operational cost of wi-fi systems has dropped to a level that is more accessible to airlines. At the same time, many smaller airlines are beginning to renew their fleets and opting for new aircraft delivered with wi-fi.

The report found that 82 airlines worldwide now offer in-flight wi-fi. Routehappy also observed that 12 additional airlines now offer in-flight wi-fi, representing a 17% increase from the 2017 report.

Three carriers, Icelandair, Southwest and Virgin Atlantic, now offer wi-fi on 100% of their flights and 13 airlines globally offer wi-fi on 100% of long-haul flights including Eurowings, Iberia and Scoot.

The ‘Best wi-fi’ is now available on 16% of ASMs worldwide, which represents a 129% increase from the 2017 report. ‘Basic wi-fi’ saw a 16% drop from last year, representing 27% of ASMs, while ‘better wi-fi’ remains the most common type at 57% of ASMs, although Routehappy noted that this is “losing ground” as airlines upgrade existing systems or start afresh with ‘Best wi-fi’.

“2017 was another progressive year for in-flight Wi-Fi, with a large increase in the amount of airlines that provide Wi-Fi access, on top of the growing availability of nearly half the available seat miles worldwide,” said Robert Albert, CEO of Routehappy. “The 129% growth of Best Wi-Fi is extraordinary, it shows the commitment airlines are making to best in class systems and we expect to see this number increase even more in 2018.”

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