Qantas has started trialling its new free in-flight Wi-Fi service, as it moves to improve its domestic passenger services.
The carrier is working with ViaSat and nbn, the Australian broadband network service provider, to provide “fast, free, gate-to-gate in-flight Wi-Fi” on its fleet of single-aisle Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
This will enable passengers to surf the internet, send and receive emails and update their social media pages. And the connection will be so fast it will also allow them to stream TV shows or movies.
“We’re building Qantas a mobility service platform to scale, ensuring passengers, cabin crew members and pilots onboard… have the opportunity to access a fast, high-quality internet connection. As we prepare to launch the official in-flight Wi-Fi production system, we will continue to test the trial aircraft and fine-tune the network with the goal to continually enhance the end-user experience,” said Don Buchman, vice president & general manager of ViaSat’s commercial mobility unit.
As well as providing in-flight entertainment services for passengers, the Wi-Fi will also allow flight crews to access aircraft information during the flight, including giving pilots access to live weather data.
ViaSat promises in-flight internet connections that have “typical speeds 10 times faster than traditional in-flight Wi-Fi services”. Currently the system is only installed on one Qantas aircraft, but the rest of the airline’s domestic fleet of Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft are expected to be equipped with the ViaSat technology this year.