Virgin Australia has announced details of its plans to roll out wireless inflight connectivity on the majority of its domestic and international aircraft, becoming the only Australian airline to offer Wi-Fi internationally.
Following the successful trial on a Boeing 737 (registration VH-YIG), the airline is now rolling out inflight Wi-Fi to its Boeing 737 aircraft, with Boeing 777 aircraft to commence in October.
By the end of 2018, Virgin Australia expects to have inflight Wi-Fi on all its Boeing 777 aircraft and the majority of Boeing 737 aircraft, with the Airbus A330 aircraft due for completion by the second half of 2019.
Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti said: “We want to provide the world’s most rewarding travel experience and we know that enabling our guests to remain connected while flying is central to that.
“Therefore we’re pleased to announce our roll-out plans for inflight Wi-Fi, which will see more than 90 per cent of Virgin Australia’s fleet fitted with this technology.
“Virgin Australia will offer a base level of free Wi-Fi to all of our guests on domestic flights and become the only Australian airline to offer Wi-Fi on international flights.
“We’ve chosen to partner with leading inflight connectivity provider Gogo, who deliver inflight Wi-Fi to airlines around the world including Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways.
“Through our partnership with Gogo and Optus Satellite, we will have access to the largest fleet of satellites servicing Australia and New Zealand, providing our guests with a fast and reliable Wi-Fi experience on board,” Mr Borghetti said.
Gogo President and CEO Michael Small said: “We are delighted to work with Virgin Australia to bring the leading global in-flight connectivity solution to their passengers.
“Gogo’s 2Ku technology allows passengers to stay connected anywhere these aircraft fly – gate-to-gate – with an internet experience they’re used to experiencing on the ground, including the ability to stream videos.”
The three-month Boeing 737 aircraft trial saw 77 per cent of guests report a high level of satisfaction with the inflight Wi-Fi. The trial found that 49% of passengers checked email, 43% checked social media, 31% read the news, 27% sent text messages and 19% watched Netflix.
Virgin Australia and Gogo will partner with Optus Satellite, with the largest fleet of satellites servicing Australia and New Zealand, with five satellites currently in geostationary orbit to service domestic flights.
Virgin Australia’s inflight Wi-Fi service will be available alongside and integrated with Virgin Australia’s existing popular wireless entertainment system.
Virgin Australia will offer guests who travel on the Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft with three months’ access to Netflix and Stan until the end of 2017.