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Sky Muster Just Bluster? Qantas Pulls Wi-Fi Plan

Qantas has cancelled its planned launch of free inflight Wi-Fi this week – including today’s media launch and test flight  – which was due to take off from Sydney at 11am for a two-hour preview of the satellite service.

The airline had been testing the service internally since February, after having fitted a single Boeing 737 with the satellite antenna and electronics hardware. But it has continued to be troubled by problems with the service provided by NBN’s two Sky Muster satellites.

The Boeing 737 involved had been scheduled to spend coming weeks on popular east-coast routes between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, offering passengers the chance to experience the Wi-Fi offering.

It was to have been joined by an Airbus A330 in the second half of the year, doing mainly east-west runs, but that, too, now remains in doubt.

“We’ve been testing in-flight Wi-Fi for several weeks and the performance has been strong,” Qantas said yesterday in a media statement. “We were preparing to open it up to media and customers this week as we continue our fine-tuning over the next few months, but some stability issues have emerged that we need to fix before customers can use it.

“We’re working with NBN and ViaSat to fix these issues very soon. We remain on track for a broader rollout to the Qantas domestic fleet from mid-2017.”

As we noted last Wednesday: “Hopefully by then NBN Co will have settled some of its Sky Muster issues.” Or then again maybe not . . .

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