OnAir receives Australian authorisation for wi-fi service

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Geneva-based OnAir has secured authorisation in Australia to provide its Internet OnAir wi-fi service in the country's airspace.

The approval could be a breakthrough for Qantas if it makes a formal commitment to the OnAir's wi-fi service, which uses Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband technology.

In March, the Sydney-based carrier started testing OnAir's wi-fi on six Airbus A380s that fly from Los Angeles to Sydney and Melbourne.

Qantas has not announced a formal commitment to Internet OnAir, however OnAir says the airline has been providing ongoing trials of the service and that it is currently in talks with the carrier about a possible roll-out.

Existing Internet OnAir customers Emirates and Singapore Airlines will also benefit from the new Australian approval.

Singapore Airlines announced on 6 September that it is now offering Internet OnAir on 14 aircraft with plans to expand the service to its entire fleet of long-haul Airbus A380-800s, A340-500s and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in the next two years.

In March, Emirates added OnAir's wi-fi service to its entire fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft after formally launching the service at the end of 2011.

"Our expertise in securing regulatory approvals means we have a network of more than 80 governmental authorities and over 350 roaming agreements with mobile operators," said OnAir CEO Ian Dawkins in a release.