Qantas will offer in-flight Wi-Fi on its domestic services via NBN’s satellite broadband service, the airline announced today.
The airline’s new service will be free and is set to be delivered under a deal with ViaSat.
A trial involving a Qantas Boeing 737 will begin later this year, with a full rollout across Qantas' domestic fleet of A330s and B737s earmarked to start in early 2017, the airline said.
“The sheer size of the Australian landmass creates some significant challenges for inflight connectivity but the recent launch of NBN’s satellite has opened up new opportunities that we plan to take advantage of with ViaSat’s help,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement.
Sky Muster — the first of two satellites that will comprise NBN’s satellite service — was launched in October.
The transition from NBN’s interim service to Sky Muster is expected to begin in late April.
“We bring deep in-flight internet expertise to Qantas, serving close to 500 US commercial aircraft,” said ViaSat CEO Mark Dankberg
“We connect more passengers per flight with higher speeds and more bandwidth per passenger than any other service – reaching speeds up to 20 Mbps per person and enough total bandwidth to support virtually any activity including streaming live or on-demand video and music.
“Our experience is proven on 1500 flights daily, with as many as 148 simultaneous active devices on any given flight and with many of those devices using streaming media.”
Qantas today announced an underlying profit before tax of $921 million for the first half, up $554 million.