February 17, 2017 – This is a good year for Qantas customers flying on wi-fi enabled domestic flights, as the airline has signed IFE content deals with Foxtel, Netflix and Spotify that will bring big TV shows, live sport and a world of music on board, streamed to passengers’ personal electronic devices.
The deals have been enabled by a further deal by the airline to install ViaSat satellite-receiving equipment on its domestic fleet. The first installation of the equipment, on a B737 in November 2016, is currently undergoing hardware and software testing, ahead of the service becoming available for customers in the near future. The service will be available on further domestic B737 and A330 aircraft from mid-2017 onwards.
Qantas claims the system will have speeds up to 10 times faster than conventional inflight wi-fi, which has enabled streaming services, made possible through the nbn Sky Muster satellite service. The service uses idle data capacity, with the signal reaching the aircraft as it flies through the satellite’s 101 spot beams across Australia.
“We know that email, online shopping and general web browsing will be popular uses when we switch on wi-fi, but what a lot of people relish about flying is being able to catch up on their favorite TV shows or watch movies they didn’t get to see at the cinema,” said Qantas group executive of brand, marketing and corporate affairs, Olivia Wirth.
While Foxtel, Netflix and Spotify are all paid subscription services, they will offer free access to Qantas customers on and off the aircraft for between three days and one month after their Qantas flight, though Netflix and Spotify will require customers to sign-up to a subscription to access the free trial.