QANTAS to Test WiFi on A380 Flights
Qantas announced it would commence an in-flight Internet connectivity pilot on selected A380 aircraft traveling between Los Angeles (LAX) and Sydney/Melbourne (SYD or MEL) starting in February next year.
The trial will initially be available to customers traveling in the First and Business cabins and will form part of Qantas’ ongoing strategic evaluation of connectivity options, including the review of next generation technology platforms. Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, said Qantas will deploy Internet capability on six of its A380s on designated flights between Los Angeles and Sydney and Los Angeles and Melbourne.
“From February next year, our customers traveling between Los Angeles and Australia will have the opportunity to participate in our in-flight connectivity trial and communicate online from 35,000 feet,” said Joyce.
“Our customers will be able to access the Internet via their Wi-Fi enabled personal electronic devices, such as iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys on Qantas for the first time.”
This will give customers the opportunity to access the Internet in exactly the same way as a terrestrial Wi-Fi hotspot in which customers can pay with their credit card and surf the Internet, including the use of email.
The connectivity service provided by OnAir uses Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband and global satellite based connections to transfer data between the passengers in the aircraft to the ground.
“The trial is set to commence mid-January,” said Joyce. “We are excited and proud to be the first airline worldwide to pilot this ground-breaking technology.”
Earlier this year, Qantas also announced it would commence a trial in which it will deliver more than 200 hours of in-flight entertainment options to passengers via iPads provided in each seat of a dedicated B767-300 aircraft. Customers traveling on the dedicated B767 will also be able to watch Qantas’s in-flight entertainment on their laptop computer, Smartphone, tablet or other Wi-Fi enabled device in the latter part of the trial.
Q Streaming utilizes cutting edge wireless technology that enables customers to connect to the Qantas on-demand IFE system, with their Wi-Fi devices, providing Qantas customers with a greater variety of choice from a wide range of content.
Following the trial, Qantas will assess opportunities for the application of Q Streaming across both the domestic and international fleet. At this time we do not know what internet speeds will be provided with this trial, but we’ll know soon enough.