Virgin Australia begins in-flight Wi-Fi rollout

Wi-Fi to be offered on most domestic and international routes

Virgin Australia plans to offer in-flight Wi-Fi on the majority of its domestic and international routes.

The airline is in the process of rolling out inflight wireless Internet access to its Boeing 737 fleet, and the company said today that it expects to expand the rollout to encompass its Boeing 777 aircraft, beginning in October.

Currently, two aircraft have the service.

Virgin Australia said it expects that it will have in-flight Wi-Fi on the all Boeing 777 aircraft and the majority of Boeing 737 aircraft by the end of next year. The service will be rolled out on Airbus A330 aircraft by the second half of 2019.

The airline revealed in April that it was trialling an in-flight Wi-Fi service.

The trial revealed that checking email and social-media services were the most common activities by passengers.

The service is delivered in partnership with Gogo and Optus’ satellite arm. The Gogo 2Ku system employs dual antennas for simultaneous upstream and downstream connections. The company’s other customers include Delta, British Airways, Virgin, American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

“We want to provide the world’s most rewarding travel experience and we know that enabling our guests to remain connected while flying is central to that,” Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti said in a statement.

“Therefore we’re pleased to announce our rollout plans for inflight wi-fi today, which will see more than 90 per cent of Virgin Australia’s fleet fitted with this technology. Virgin Australia will offer a base level of free Wi-Fi to all of our guests on domestic flights and become the only Australian airline to offer Wi-Fi on international flights.”

“Through our partnership with Gogo and Optus Satellite, we will have access to the largest fleet of satellites servicing Australia and New Zealand, providing our guests with a fast and reliable Wi-Fi experience on board,” the CEO said.

Virgin Australia said that until the end of the year customers on the Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft will be offers three months’ free access to video-on-demand services Netflix and Stan.

Qantas has been trialling Wi-Fi on domestic flights. The airline is employing spare capacity on NBN’s Sky Muster satellites for the service.

In addition to offering Internet access to passengers, Qantas has been looking at how its crew can use in-flight Wi-Fi.

Virgin Australia today reported a group underlying loss before tax of $3.7 million and a group statutory loss after tax of $185.8 million.

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Tags NetworkingWi-FitravelVirgin Australia

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