Qantas is offering public access to Wi-Fi on one of its Boeing 737 aircraft while it “continues to fine-tune the system”.
In a statement the airline said testing is expected to be completed by mid-year. Qantas will then roll wireless Internet access out across its Airbus 330s and Boeing 737s flying domestic routes within Australia. In total, some 80 aircraft are expected to get onboard Wi-Fi.
The system, courtesy of a deal with ViaSat, uses NBN’s Sky Muster satellites.
“Inflight Wi-Fi has been on our wish list for quite a while, but the sheer size of Australia meant it was hard to offer a service that was fast and reliable,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said. “The NBN has made it possible and we’re really pleased to be able to tap into this service.”
“The technology we’re using on-board this 737 is a generation ahead of what most airlines around the world have and there’s a fair amount of complexity involved,” the CEO said.
“That’s why we’ve installed it on one aircraft for the first few months until we’ve finished fine tuning and are ready to roll out to the rest of the domestic fleet.
“On flights between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, where we have a lot of business travellers, we expect the system to get a real work out with email and web browsing. We also know customers want down time, which is why we’ve partnered with streaming services like Foxtel and Stan so there’s no shortage of things to help people tune out.”
Qantas announced plans in February 2016 to offer in-flight Internet connectivity by leveraging NBN’s satellite service.