From next year Qantas customers can enjoy world-leading inflight wi-fi. The new service will feature speeds up to 10 times faster than conventional on-board wi-fi, giving customers the ability to stream movies, TV shows, the latest news bulletins and live sports on domestic flights via the internet.
In-flight trials are expected to begin with a single Qantas Boeing 737 aircraft in late 2016, retrofitted with equipment to enable high-speed wi-fi. A full roll-out across Qantas Domestic’s fleet of A330s and B737s is planned from early 2017, with the aircraft to be fitted with modems and the advanced antenna that receives the satellite signal.
Qantas partners with global broadband services provider ViaSat. “Bringing high-speed wi-fi to the domestic aviation market has been an ambition of ours for a long time and we now have access to the right technology to make it happen,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
Under the deal, ViaSat will provide Qantas with connectivity between the aircraft and the high capacity KA-band satellite and ground stations, which will then provide a link to the internet.
The user-friendly speeds delivered by ViaSat to airlines in the U.S. have driven take-up rates among passengers that are four times higher than the industry average.
“This service will give Qantas customers download speeds in the air similar to what they’re used to on the ground,” Mr Joyce added.