Virgin Australia has signed a deal with Intelsat, for the network operator and inflight connectivity (IFC) company to provide high-speed in-flight wi-fi to its fleet of existing Boeing 737 NG aircraft and future-delivery 737 MAX aircraft. Intelsat’s 2Ku antennas that facilitate the IFC system will be installed gradually over 18 months on more than half of the airline’s fleet, starting mid-December 2023.
A recent survey by Virgin Australia of its customers indicated that wi-fi connectivity was an important part of travel for one in three leisure travellers and almost half of business passengers. Virgin Australia Group’s chief customer and digital officer, Paul Jones, stated that customers “overwhelmingly told us that wi-fi was important to them.”
Wi-fi access will be free to use for the airline’s business-class customers, and Beyond and Velocity Platinum members. For all other guests, such as those in economy class, wi-fi access will be available for a fee.
“We’re going to deliver a streaming-quality, always-on, reliable inflight internet product onboard Virginia Australia’s fleet of 737 aircraft,” said Dave Bijur, SVP of Intelsat Commercial Aviation. “We’re adding 737 MAX aircraft for the first time with Virgin Australia, and they’ve made a technology decision that expands our relationship and will delight their guests.”