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Drone Delivery Dilemmas

Much is made about delivery by drone for Google and Amazon but, of course, the real money to be made is from replacing delivery by the postman, the pizza guy, the lunch counter jockey, even the coffee barista and all the other poor folk who tramp the streets and restaurant floors attempting to satiate the desires of a demanding public. Can you imagine the unbridled rapture that will greet the first drone service to deliver gin and tonic to your garden deck chair on a gloriously sunny July afternoon?

What are the precursors required to achieve such a ‘heaven-on-earth’? For pizza and beer, we need night flights and for post and lunch deliveries, we need to have ‘first person view’ allowed. Indeed, it makes little sense to have drone deliveries if each drone requires its own operator. Operators need to be able to supervise three, four or even five drones simultaneously to make the cost savings significant enough to encourage the investment. The first flight to any address must be supervised but once the route is mapped, a certain amount of leeway can be allowed.

What is required for the delivery?

  1. The loading station for multiple delivery UAVs (DUAVs…pronounced ‘doves’) and, obviously, the offload point – some flat surface with free air-space above it.
  2. Those thousands of UAVs, all delivering items from different companies and under different control must not bump into each other or anything else.
  3. They must not interfere with other air traffic. This probably means that there must be a restricted airspace to other uses
  4. They must be trackable.
  5. They must be mostly autonomous. There is little economic incentive to use UAVs if each one needs an individual qualified pilot.
  6. To expand on the last point, for DUAVs to have economic benefit, the ‘operators’ who send out the drones for deliveries need to be the same pre-university minimum-wage kids who have failed to be invited for a summer internship at NASA. This means that legislators really need to look at how they address this.

 

At the moment, UAV regulation is in the hands of the various agencies (FAA in the US, CAA in UK, EASA in Europe, TCCA in Canada, CASA in Australia etc.) Their brief, almost universally, is to ensure the safety of air passengers and the airworthiness of vehicles flying above their countries. Where they have made rules concerning UAVs, it has been to ensure they don’t endanger real aeroplanes and helicopters and they don’t breach people’s privacy or interfere with the work of ‘the authorities’ or ‘the government’.

A major issue to be addressed is “how will these DUAV flights interface with traditional air traffic control?” In the UK there are somewhere between a million and one and a half million flights a year. If the drone delivery service is allowed to flourish, then there will be (say) about a half million flights per day – in London – between 7pm and 11 pm and that’s a low estimate. For cities like Seoul and Beijing that number is likely to be exceeded by factors of ten or twenty. In Mumbai, the famous dabbawallas deliver half a million lunchboxes every day between 11am and 1 pm and then collect them for return and mistakes are so rare they better six sigma criteria easily.

The benefits of replacing this manpower with drones are incalculable both to the environment (reduction in pollution and traffic congestion) and to society (reduction in the number of young men, preponderantly, who are hurt or killed delivering cheap food within a specified time-frame. For example, pizza delivery in the US is listed as the fifth most dangerous American occupation and, in Seoul, Korea, 28% of all traffic fatalities and injuries involve food delivery personnel (invariably young men under 25).

It is clear that no system that requires human approval for each flight will assist in a many drone scenario. It will have to be a self-regulating system such as functions on our road networks. There are several systems that will allow autonomous DUAV flights and provide some overview.

We might think that the Global Positioning System (GPS) can do the job; it works on your mobile phone and in the car for your directions and many delivery companies use GPS to control their fleets of delivery vans. For large vehicles, in human hands, it works fine but for autonomous DUAVs, not so well.

The signals come from satellites parked 10,600 miles above the planet and lots can happen in those miles (Solar Storms, Volcanic Clouds etc.) so GPS reliability is actually only around 95% for signals received. The alternative error is receiving a signal that is wrong. Here the reliability is very much higher but when it does go wrong, the results would be catastrophic to a small drone in a big world. The US Defence Department has 24 satellites spaced around the planet (they didn’t put them there for you and me but they let us use the signals) but, even these scientific miracles go out of date whenever Raytheon or Honeywell develop some more accurate or a faster gizmo for this application.

In January 2016, as an old satellite was being replaced, GPS timing was found to be off by 13 microseconds – admittedly not much – or 13,000 nanoseconds (one nanosecond is a billionth of a second and equates to about one foot of inaccuracy in positioning) which means that, should a drone be depending on GPS for directions, it might have been 4 km out of position – not good for the person waiting for their ham and mushroom pizza.

Luckily all is not lost as there are several other systems available for guiding DUAVs.

The Russians have an equivalent to the US GPS called GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and have enabled it for public use. The Chinese have a system called BeiDou-2 (the name derives from the constellation The Big Dipper), soon to be renamed COMPASS and the Europeans have the Galileo network, neither of which will be ready until 2020.

Modern smartphones use signals from both independent systems to verify their position greatly increasing their accuracy. They also use cell-tower masts for triangulation.  A group of companies in the US including PrecisionHawk, Verizon, Harris and DigitalGlobe have developed a system called LATAS (Low Atitude Traffic and AirSpace Safety) using the Verizon cellular network, the Harris ADS-B network and Digital Globe’s Geospatial Big Data Platform.

Another alternative is high flying dirigible UAVs. These float at the bottom end of the stratosphere and in a similar way to satellites but at a much lower level and much less disturbed by atmospheric phenomena. Originally intended for military surveillance, these would be ideal vehicles from which to base densely populated drone management. One forecast from the USA suggested that by 2018, there would be around 75,000 drones operating in that country. If drone delivery flourishes, that figure might be an underestimation by a factor of one hundred. The drawback with these stratospheric communication stations is that their digital fingerprint is much less than high flying satellites so instead of the 24 used by the GPS system, virtually every city would need one.

That fact tells us how they might be financed. While not the same cost as satellites, these are expensive, but within the budget of a city project. They would carry relays for HD TV and 4G cell phones as well as drone communication facilities and the city could then rent out this facility to mobile phone networks, drone operators and TV operators. An additional benefit being the removal of unsightly mobile phone masts. There are already several manufacturers of such dirigibles including AeroVironment, Thales, AeroStar, Lockheed Martin, SkyTower, Avanced Technologies Group. China has tested one as have Japan, South Korea, Russia, Israel, India and the EU (two of which have sadly been referred to as the HairShip and HairCraft).

NASA has proposed a system which they call Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM, a rather over-used acronym) which promises airspace management and geo-fencing (a fancy term for ‘don’t go near airports or government buildings or military installations and don’t fly above 500ft’), weather and severe wind and rain warnings, congestion management, natural and man-made obstruction database, safe separation and ‘allow’ only authenticated flights.  This can either be localised or persistent (in the sense that is nation-wide 24/7). It has been tested for a few flights in a small rural area but is not expected to be ready for congested urban areas until 2019 at least. Both this system and that proposed in a paper from the University of California, Berkeley and a similar system under discussion in Australia depend to a great extent on ground-based towers and cameras to recognise each UAV, one system going so far as to suggest each UAV carry a ‘numberplate’. Admittedly, they include satellite back-up.

Nature uses Earth’s magnetic field and star positions to guide migrating birds and even certain bacteria are able to detect the earth’s magnetic field so it won’t be long before quantum-sized magnetic difference detectors are available for mounting in UAV circuit boards. Unfortunately, this may be useful for north-south journeys and inter-town deliveries but will not help the pizza DUAVs in down-town San Francisco.

Another alternative is to teach UAVs to think like humans. Human’s read maps and spot landmarks to get where they want to. That takes quite a bit of computing power and a fair bit of memory but it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that, one day soon, this is exactly how drones could navigate in urban areas. The technique of “Deep Learning” used in artificial intelligence is a leading example of this front. Of course, humans get lost as well so, like dynamically-positioned ships, there would be probably need to be a few systems running simultaneously and the direction chosen on a voting system between the systems.

Of course, the technology astute person or film buff’s favourite is bound to be ‘Skynet’ – the internet of things. If everything with a printed circuit board could talk to each other, then no drone need ever get lost, it could ask a local lamppost the way, it could ask your freezer if you’re home and your lawnmower could direct a gin and tonic to be delivered to your garden chair. The Terminator approves this idea.

A company called Matternet in California has famously been undertaking automated UAV deliveries of infant blood samples in Malawi for HIV diagnosis, in the Dominican Republic for deliveries of medical specimens for analysis. It has tested deliveries in Bhutan, New Guinea and Haiti and is developing a system of package delivery for the Swiss Post Office. It has tested its systems using specially installed beacons including landing platforms with automated battery changes along the way. It’s not pizza or gin and tonic but it’s a start.

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Much is made about delivery by drone for Google and Amazon but, of course, the real money to be made is from replacing delivery by the postman, the pizza guy, the lunch counter jockey, even the coffee barista and all the other poor folk who tramp the streets and restaurant floors attempting to satiate the desires of a demanding public. Can you imagine the unbridled rapture that will greet the first drone service to deliver gin and tonic to your garden deck chair on a gloriously sunny July afternoon? What are the precursors required to achieve such a ‘heaven-on-earth’? For pizza and beer, we need night flights and for post and lunch deliveries, we need to have ‘first person view’ allowed. Indeed, it makes little sense to have drone deliveries if each drone requires its own operator. Operators need to be able to supervise three, four or even five drones simultaneously to make the cost savings significant enough to encourage the investment. The first flight to any address must be supervised but once the route is mapped, a certain amount of leeway can be allowed. What is required for the delivery?
  1. The loading station for multiple delivery UAVs (DUAVs...pronounced ‘doves’) and, obviously, the offload point – some flat surface with free air-space above it.
  2. Those thousands of UAVs, all delivering items from different companies and under different control must not bump into each other or anything else.
  3. They must not interfere with other air traffic. This probably means that there must be a restricted airspace to other uses
  4. They must be trackable.
  5. They must be mostly autonomous. There is little economic incentive to use UAVs if each one needs an individual qualified pilot.
  6. To expand on the last point, for DUAVs to have economic benefit, the ‘operators’ who send out the drones for deliveries need to be the same pre-university minimum-wage kids who have failed to be invited for a summer internship at NASA. This means that legislators really need to look at how they address this.
  At the moment, UAV regulation is in the hands of the various agencies (FAA in the US, CAA in UK, EASA in Europe, TCCA in Canada, CASA in Australia etc.) Their brief, almost universally, is to ensure the safety of air passengers and the airworthiness of vehicles flying above their countries. Where they have made rules concerning UAVs, it has been to ensure they don’t endanger real aeroplanes and helicopters and they don’t breach people’s privacy or interfere with the work of ‘the authorities’ or ‘the government’. A major issue to be addressed is “how will these DUAV flights interface with traditional air traffic control?” In the UK there are somewhere between a million and one and a half million flights a year. If the drone delivery service is allowed to flourish, then there will be (say) about a half million flights per day - in London - between 7pm and 11 pm and that’s a low estimate. For cities like Seoul and Beijing that number is likely to be exceeded by factors of ten or twenty. In Mumbai, the famous dabbawallas deliver half a million lunchboxes every day between 11am and 1 pm and then collect them for return and mistakes are so rare they better six sigma criteria easily. The benefits of replacing this manpower with drones are incalculable both to the environment (reduction in pollution and traffic congestion) and to society (reduction in the number of young men, preponderantly, who are hurt or killed delivering cheap food within a specified time-frame. For example, pizza delivery in the US is listed as the fifth most dangerous American occupation and, in Seoul, Korea, 28% of all traffic fatalities and injuries involve food delivery personnel (invariably young men under 25). It is clear that no system that requires human approval for each flight will assist in a many drone scenario. It will have to be a self-regulating system such as functions on our road networks. There are several systems that will allow autonomous DUAV flights and provide some overview. We might think that the Global Positioning System (GPS) can do the job; it works on your mobile phone and in the car for your directions and many delivery companies use GPS to control their fleets of delivery vans. For large vehicles, in human hands, it works fine but for autonomous DUAVs, not so well. The signals come from satellites parked 10,600 miles above the planet and lots can happen in those miles (Solar Storms, Volcanic Clouds etc.) so GPS reliability is actually only around 95% for signals received. The alternative error is receiving a signal that is wrong. Here the reliability is very much higher but when it does go wrong, the results would be catastrophic to a small drone in a big world. The US Defence Department has 24 satellites spaced around the planet (they didn’t put them there for you and me but they let us use the signals) but, even these scientific miracles go out of date whenever Raytheon or Honeywell develop some more accurate or a faster gizmo for this application. In January 2016, as an old satellite was being replaced, GPS timing was found to be off by 13 microseconds – admittedly not much – or 13,000 nanoseconds (one nanosecond is a billionth of a second and equates to about one foot of inaccuracy in positioning) which means that, should a drone be depending on GPS for directions, it might have been 4 km out of position – not good for the person waiting for their ham and mushroom pizza. Luckily all is not lost as there are several other systems available for guiding DUAVs. The Russians have an equivalent to the US GPS called GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and have enabled it for public use. The Chinese have a system called BeiDou-2 (the name derives from the constellation The Big Dipper), soon to be renamed COMPASS and the Europeans have the Galileo network, neither of which will be ready until 2020. Modern smartphones use signals from both independent systems to verify their position greatly increasing their accuracy. They also use cell-tower masts for triangulation.  A group of companies in the US including PrecisionHawk, Verizon, Harris and DigitalGlobe have developed a system called LATAS (Low Atitude Traffic and AirSpace Safety) using the Verizon cellular network, the Harris ADS-B network and Digital Globe’s Geospatial Big Data Platform. Another alternative is high flying dirigible UAVs. These float at the bottom end of the stratosphere and in a similar way to satellites but at a much lower level and much less disturbed by atmospheric phenomena. Originally intended for military surveillance, these would be ideal vehicles from which to base densely populated drone management. One forecast from the USA suggested that by 2018, there would be around 75,000 drones operating in that country. If drone delivery flourishes, that figure might be an underestimation by a factor of one hundred. The drawback with these stratospheric communication stations is that their digital fingerprint is much less than high flying satellites so instead of the 24 used by the GPS system, virtually every city would need one. That fact tells us how they might be financed. While not the same cost as satellites, these are expensive, but within the budget of a city project. They would carry relays for HD TV and 4G cell phones as well as drone communication facilities and the city could then rent out this facility to mobile phone networks, drone operators and TV operators. An additional benefit being the removal of unsightly mobile phone masts. There are already several manufacturers of such dirigibles including AeroVironment, Thales, AeroStar, Lockheed Martin, SkyTower, Avanced Technologies Group. China has tested one as have Japan, South Korea, Russia, Israel, India and the EU (two of which have sadly been referred to as the HairShip and HairCraft). NASA has proposed a system which they call Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM, a rather over-used acronym) which promises airspace management and geo-fencing (a fancy term for ‘don’t go near airports or government buildings or military installations and don’t fly above 500ft’), weather and severe wind and rain warnings, congestion management, natural and man-made obstruction database, safe separation and ‘allow’ only authenticated flights.  This can either be localised or persistent (in the sense that is nation-wide 24/7). It has been tested for a few flights in a small rural area but is not expected to be ready for congested urban areas until 2019 at least. Both this system and that proposed in a paper from the University of California, Berkeley and a similar system under discussion in Australia depend to a great extent on ground-based towers and cameras to recognise each UAV, one system going so far as to suggest each UAV carry a ‘numberplate’. Admittedly, they include satellite back-up. Nature uses Earth’s magnetic field and star positions to guide migrating birds and even certain bacteria are able to detect the earth’s magnetic field so it won’t be long before quantum-sized magnetic difference detectors are available for mounting in UAV circuit boards. Unfortunately, this may be useful for north-south journeys and inter-town deliveries but will not help the pizza DUAVs in down-town San Francisco. Another alternative is to teach UAVs to think like humans. Human’s read maps and spot landmarks to get where they want to. That takes quite a bit of computing power and a fair bit of memory but it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that, one day soon, this is exactly how drones could navigate in urban areas. The technique of “Deep Learning” used in artificial intelligence is a leading example of this front. Of course, humans get lost as well so, like dynamically-positioned ships, there would be probably need to be a few systems running simultaneously and the direction chosen on a voting system between the systems. Of course, the technology astute person or film buff’s favourite is bound to be ‘Skynet’ – the internet of things. If everything with a printed circuit board could talk to each other, then no drone need ever get lost, it could ask a local lamppost the way, it could ask your freezer if you’re home and your lawnmower could direct a gin and tonic to be delivered to your garden chair. The Terminator approves this idea. A company called Matternet in California has famously been undertaking automated UAV deliveries of infant blood samples in Malawi for HIV diagnosis, in the Dominican Republic for deliveries of medical specimens for analysis. It has tested deliveries in Bhutan, New Guinea and Haiti and is developing a system of package delivery for the Swiss Post Office. It has tested its systems using specially installed beacons including landing platforms with automated battery changes along the way. It’s not pizza or gin and tonic but it’s a start.

Examining Our In-Flight Connectivity Market Forecast

Back in October 2014, Valour Consultancy published its first report on in-flight connectivity (IFC) in the commercial aviation market. Fast forward to June 2016 and we are just about to release the second edition of this highly-acclaimed piece of research. With preliminary data now available to companies that have already purchased the report, we thought it’d be interesting to take a quick look at some of our 2014 predictions and compare them to what actually happened. We’ll also briefly explore where the market may head to in 2016 and beyond.

Let’s start first with the total number of aircraft equipped with some form of IFC. That is, aircraft equipped with either a standalone cellular connectivity solution (one that allows passengers to use their mobile phones as they would abroad), aircraft equipped with a standalone Wi-Fi service (where passengers can access the Internet on the device of their choosing), as well as those aircraft that have both types of system installed. In October 2014, our expectation was for the total installed base to reach 4,144 by the end of that year, before rising to 5,378 by the end of 2015. Unsurprisingly given the short timeframe between October and December, we were more or less spot on with our short term prediction (it turned out that 4,136 aircraft had IFC by the time Big Ben chimed for the final time in 2014). It seems we were a tad optimistic with respect to our prediction for 2015. Our expectation was that total connected aircraft would reach 5,378 – 147 too many.

Part of the reason for this was our belief that there would be continued growth in aircraft equipped with standalone cellular connectivity. As it turned out, net new installations (the number of newly connected aircraft in a given year, less any aircraft that were retired, or had connectivity hardware removed or de-activated) of such systems were -32 and -47 in 2014 and 2015, respectively. TAM Airlines (now known as LATAM Airlines Brasil), de-activated standalone cellular connectivity on 31 Airbus A320 aircraft in 2015, while Emirates’ fleet of aircraft equipped with AeroMobile technology running over Inmarsat classic services are gradually being retired. Furthermore, many airlines are instead opting to install cellular connectivity alongside Wi-Fi connectivity.

With great satisfaction, our forecasts for the deployment of cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity in tandem, as well as for Wi-Fi in isolation were not at all shabby. If only the UK weather forecasters could be similarly skilled with their prognostications – I, for one, am still waiting for June’s heatwave to materialise

Total Aircraft Equipped with Standalone In-Flight Cellular Connectivity - 2010 - 2015 Total Aircraft Equipped with Standalone In-Flight Wi-Fi Connectivity - 2010 - 2015 Total Aircraft Equipped with In-Flight Cellular and Wi-Fi Connectivity - 2010 - 2015

On the line-fit front, SITAONAIR and Panasonic Avionics continue to lead the way with each’s solutions in the catalogue for the widest selection of aircraft. Line-fitments already account for about a third of Panasonic’s current yearly IFC installations – a figure that is forecast to increase in future. Nevertheless, it is Gogo – a company that installs the majority of its systems as retrofits – that leads the way when it comes to the overall share of total connected aircraft. The Chicago-based firm had a 49% share of all aircraft with IFC at the end of 2015 – way out in front of second-placed Panasonic on 19%. SITAONAIR sat fourth with a 9% share – 4 percentage points below Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE). When you look at the number of aircraft that have been awarded but not yet installed, it is Panasonic and Gogo that again, find themselves in the lead. The former is estimated to have some 2,000 aircraft currently in backlog, while the number of tails awaiting equipage of Gogo’s 2Ku solution alone exceeds the 1,000 mark.

Looking ahead, we are pretty confident the total number of aircraft equipped with IFC will exceed the 19,000 mark by 2025. Total announced backlog of all service providers at the start of 2016 was somewhere in the region of 4,500 aircraft and we believe yearly install rates are set to comfortably exceed 1,000 from here on in. The fact that Global Xpress and the European Aviation Network are not yet in commercial operation and will doubtless attract a considerable number of customers, the emergence of new players like roKKi Avionics, Donica, AirCom Pacific and MCN, as well as growing line-fit status for a variety of solutions on different airframes means there is plenty of room for continued growth over the next few years.

In addition to tracking the market by type of installation (standalone cellular, standalone Wi-Fi and a combination of the two), Valour Consultancy has detailed breakdowns by fitment type (retrofit and line fitment), connectivity technology (ATG, L-band, Ku-band, Ka-band and Hybrid), geographic region (Africa, Central & Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Middle East, Central & South America, North America, Asia-Pacific and China) and aircraft size (narrow-body, wide-body, regional jet). This information is updated on a quarterly basis, while our annual report on the market delves deeply into all relevant trends and is widely recognised as the most comprehensive report of its kind.

An example of some of the information contained within our tracker is shown below. A full list of tables and charts can be seen here.

Airline Directory - Summary of Airlines with IFC or Plans to Adopt IFC

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Back in October 2014, Valour Consultancy published its first report on in-flight connectivity (IFC) in the commercial aviation market. Fast forward to June 2016 and we are just about to release the second edition of this highly-acclaimed piece of research. With preliminary data now available to companies that have already purchased the report, we thought it’d be interesting to take a quick look at some of our 2014 predictions and compare them to what actually happened. We’ll also briefly explore where the market may head to in 2016 and beyond. Let’s start first with the total number of aircraft equipped with some form of IFC. That is, aircraft equipped with either a standalone cellular connectivity solution (one that allows passengers to use their mobile phones as they would abroad), aircraft equipped with a standalone Wi-Fi service (where passengers can access the Internet on the device of their choosing), as well as those aircraft that have both types of system installed. In October 2014, our expectation was for the total installed base to reach 4,144 by the end of that year, before rising to 5,378 by the end of 2015. Unsurprisingly given the short timeframe between October and December, we were more or less spot on with our short term prediction (it turned out that 4,136 aircraft had IFC by the time Big Ben chimed for the final time in 2014). It seems we were a tad optimistic with respect to our prediction for 2015. Our expectation was that total connected aircraft would reach 5,378 – 147 too many. Part of the reason for this was our belief that there would be continued growth in aircraft equipped with standalone cellular connectivity. As it turned out, net new installations (the number of newly connected aircraft in a given year, less any aircraft that were retired, or had connectivity hardware removed or de-activated) of such systems were -32 and -47 in 2014 and 2015, respectively. TAM Airlines (now known as LATAM Airlines Brasil), de-activated standalone cellular connectivity on 31 Airbus A320 aircraft in 2015, while Emirates’ fleet of aircraft equipped with AeroMobile technology running over Inmarsat classic services are gradually being retired. Furthermore, many airlines are instead opting to install cellular connectivity alongside Wi-Fi connectivity. With great satisfaction, our forecasts for the deployment of cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity in tandem, as well as for Wi-Fi in isolation were not at all shabby. If only the UK weather forecasters could be similarly skilled with their prognostications - I, for one, am still waiting for June's heatwave to materialise... Total Aircraft Equipped with Standalone In-Flight Cellular Connectivity - 2010 - 2015 Total Aircraft Equipped with Standalone In-Flight Wi-Fi Connectivity - 2010 - 2015 Total Aircraft Equipped with In-Flight Cellular and Wi-Fi Connectivity - 2010 - 2015 On the line-fit front, SITAONAIR and Panasonic Avionics continue to lead the way with each’s solutions in the catalogue for the widest selection of aircraft. Line-fitments already account for about a third of Panasonic’s current yearly IFC installations – a figure that is forecast to increase in future. Nevertheless, it is Gogo – a company that installs the majority of its systems as retrofits – that leads the way when it comes to the overall share of total connected aircraft. The Chicago-based firm had a 49% share of all aircraft with IFC at the end of 2015 – way out in front of second-placed Panasonic on 19%. SITAONAIR sat fourth with a 9% share – 4 percentage points below Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE). When you look at the number of aircraft that have been awarded but not yet installed, it is Panasonic and Gogo that again, find themselves in the lead. The former is estimated to have some 2,000 aircraft currently in backlog, while the number of tails awaiting equipage of Gogo's 2Ku solution alone exceeds the 1,000 mark. Looking ahead, we are pretty confident the total number of aircraft equipped with IFC will exceed the 19,000 mark by 2025. Total announced backlog of all service providers at the start of 2016 was somewhere in the region of 4,500 aircraft and we believe yearly install rates are set to comfortably exceed 1,000 from here on in. The fact that Global Xpress and the European Aviation Network are not yet in commercial operation and will doubtless attract a considerable number of customers, the emergence of new players like roKKi Avionics, Donica, AirCom Pacific and MCN, as well as growing line-fit status for a variety of solutions on different airframes means there is plenty of room for continued growth over the next few years. In addition to tracking the market by type of installation (standalone cellular, standalone Wi-Fi and a combination of the two), Valour Consultancy has detailed breakdowns by fitment type (retrofit and line fitment), connectivity technology (ATG, L-band, Ku-band, Ka-band and Hybrid), geographic region (Africa, Central & Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Middle East, Central & South America, North America, Asia-Pacific and China) and aircraft size (narrow-body, wide-body, regional jet). This information is updated on a quarterly basis, while our annual report on the market delves deeply into all relevant trends and is widely recognised as the most comprehensive report of its kind. An example of some of the information contained within our tracker is shown below. A full list of tables and charts can be seen here. Airline Directory - Summary of Airlines with IFC or Plans to Adopt IFC