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Qantas to have 80 wi-fi equipped aircraft by end-2018

Qantas plans to equip 80 of its domestically-operated Boeing 737-800s and Airbus A330s with on-board wi-fi connectivity by the end of 2018.

The Oneworld carrier says that following a successful trial earlier this year, it has rolled out the ViaSat equipment on 15 737-800s, and will start to fit it on its A330s from next year.

“The customer trial on our first Wi-Fi aircraft helped us fine-tune the system and we’re pleased to be switching the system on across the domestic fleet. When it is complete, 15 million passengers a year will be able to stay connected in the air,” says the airline’s chief customer officer, Olivia Wirth.

Qantas uses the two SkyMuster Ka-band satellites operated by NBNCo to provide the backhaul for its connectivity, which it claims allows for faster speeds than other systems.

Rival Virgin Australia is fitting its core fleet of 737s, 777-300ERs and A330-200s with Gogo’s 2Ku system. It utilises satellites from Optus, Intelsat and SES.

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