Qantas to Offer Satellite Internet Access on A380 Domestic and USA Flights

19th Nov 2015

Qantas passengers could soon get satellite Internet access on certain domestic Airbus A380 flights, as well as on routes to US and back, airline's Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said in an interview for Australian newspaper Australian Business Traveller.

Qantas CEO touched on this subject at a media lunch held last week in Sydney and remarked on what went wrong with the carrier's first WiFi trial in 2012:

"It didn't really work well across the Pacific because I think people were sleeping a lot and not using it, but we're very keen to continue to explore it."

According to Joyce, his company will keep an eye on its partner American Airlines, saying:

"It'll be interesting what (AA) finds out with its (Sydney-Los Angeles) flight in uptake. If that's significant, we'll be very keen to introduce on-board WiFi? it's only a matter of time when we do it, and it's only a matter of us having it everywhere at the same time and not having it patchy and working only in certain zones at certain times, which just causes confusion for our customers."

One of the problems that Qantas is facing in delivering in-flight Wi-Fi above Australia is the general lack (in comparison to the more closely populated North America and Europe) of satellite coverage. Because there are certain parts of the Australian continent that are uninhabited, they don't have satellite coverage, so getting in-flight Internet when flying above these areas is a problem for the airline.

Solving that problem could lay in Qantas potential new deal with NBN for its new Sky Muster satellites, which will start broadbanding in Australia sometime in mid-2016.

Qantas initial trial in-flight WiFi onboard A380s in 2012 didn't quite "catch on", as only about 5% of passengers were logging in, so the airline it was back to the drawing board for the airline.