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Qantas To Offer Free Wi-Fi Across All Cabin Classes On International Flights

Qantas A380 (Image: Sourced from Qantas Newsroom)

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange this week, national carrier Qantas confirmed that it will retrofit its existing fleet of international aircraft with fast and free wi-fi.

The service will be progressively available to passengers starting from the end of 2024 and will be available on all international flights by 2026.

The airline began offering that service on domestic flights in 2016, and it said that the decision to do so on international flights was deferred until “global satellite technology was able to deliver a similar quality connection that Qantas customers have when travelling domestically.”

It added that the speed and reliability of Qantas’ domestic wi-fi service has driven average take-up rates of 75 per cent, with some routes showing up to 100 per cent uptake.

On its international flights, the free wi-fi service will be available to customers across all cabin classes.

Qantas A380 business class (Image: Sourced from Qantas Newsroom)

It will rely on global broadband services provider, Viasat, to enable passengers to stream movies, TV shows, news bulletins and live sports.

Qantas’ A330, B787 and A380 fleets will progressively be retrofitted with Viasat’s satellite network.

The A330-200LR installation programme will be built into the existing heavy maintenance schedule starting in March 2024.

Installation on all eight of these aircraft is expected to be complete by the end of this calendar year, coinciding with the launch of a new satellite covering South East Asia.

Installation programmes for the B787, A380 and A330-300s will commence from 2025.
New aircraft currently on order, including A350 and B787 fleets, will be wi-fi capable at the time of delivery itself.

Jetstar will introduce onboard wi-fi on its international widebody fleet from 2026, as part of its Boeing 787 cabin refresh.

The Qantas Group will press its latest A220 into service this month. QantasLink has taken delivery of the first two of 29 Airbus A220 jet aircraft, which will replace the group’s Boeing 717s.

The A220 will fly between several Australian cities like Melbourne, Hobart, Brisbane and Canberra as well as Coffs Harbour and Launceston. With double the range of the 717s they replace, the A220 can fly between any two points in Australia and to several offshore destinations too.

Qantas’ decision to roll out the free wi-fi comes at a time when carriers such as Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Etihad have all within the last few months announced plans to roll out free wi-fi to its customers.

In the case of Turkish Airlines – which launched its first-ever flights to Australia in March – the airline is in the midst of a “tender process” to choose a new Internet provider, with the contenders including British satellite communications company Inmarsat, Elon Musk’s Starlink and the new Turkcell-Sateliot joint venture.



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