Qantas launched its in-flight Wi-Fi deployment in April 2017. One year on, the first A330 Airbus has now been fitted out with the white hump that houses a Viasat Internet, and a kilometre of cabling.
This A330, registration VH-EBB, is being tested on the ground and in the air before the service is switched on for customers in the next few weeks.
A second A330 will follow before the end of June. By the end of the year, 75% of the combined domestic 737 and A330 fleet of 80 aircraft will have Wi-Fi, and the rest will be equipped during 2019. The fit-out takes a week on average and is scheduled around already existing maintenance schedules to reduce any service disruptions.
This full deployment will see 15 million passengers per year able to stay connected in the air.
With a year’s worth of passenger usage information under its belt, Qantas says the majority of people connecting to in-flight Wi-Fi use it for Web browsing, social media and email. They enjoy speeds around 12Mbps, capable of streaming movies and TV shows. Increasingly, passengers are shopping online and booking flights.
Qantas has also added games to its Wi-Fi portal including Crossword, Sudoku and Trivia, along with free access to audiobooks and millions of songs courtesy of Audible and Apple Music.