Qantas starts connectivity trialsBy IAG | March 12th, 2012 | Posted in Aviation News | No Comments
Qantas has started in-flight A380 connectivity trials. The trail offers travelers between Australia and the USA in-flight access to the Internet and email. The trial uses six A380s equipped with internet connectivity between Sydney and Los Angeles and Melbourne and Los Angeles.
Qantas Executive Manager Customer Experience Alison Webster said customers will be able to access the Internet via their Wi-Fi enabled laptops and personal electronic devices, such as iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys. “The eight week trial 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,” Ms Webster said. “Qantas is the first airline in the world to trial this service on direct flights between Australia and the US. Over the past week Qantas has conducted some preliminary testing and is pleased to now trial the service with customers flying between Australia and Los Angeles.”
Connectivity is provided by OnAir and uses Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband and global satellite based connections. The trial is 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. After the trial, Qantas will assess opportunities for the long-term application of internet capabilities across its A380 fleet.
Qantas has been surprising slow in adopting the technology given its long hauls. One would have thought Qantas would be among the pioneers. We hope the trial is a roaring success – we would be surprised it it isn't. The technology is well established and has been deployed by other long haul carriers like Emirates for some time. Unless Qantas' passengers are somehow different from others, the trial will demonstrate the service is more popular than the airline expects. Then comes the interesting part – recovering the cost. Can Qantas make it pay for itself?