Air New Zealand is to deploy in-flight WiFi across its fleet next year.
New Zealand’s national carrier is going to provide Inmarsat’s Global Xpress connectivity across its long-haul and short-haul fleets.
Inmarsat says that Global Express is the world’s first globally available high-speed broadband network designed for mobility – to deliver a reliable, seamless broadband in-flight wi-fi Fi experience across the world.
The rollout is set to begin with Air New Zealand’s long-haul Tasman and Pacific fleet at the end of 2017, followed by domestic routes in 2018.
Air New Zealand is working to integrate Inmarsat’s GX for Aviation with Panasonic Avionics IFE.
Air New Zealand flagged its intentions to introduce in-flight WiFi in October, with chief executive officer Christopher Luxon saying it would be the “world’s most reliable inflight connectivity”.
Given that Air New Zealand operates some of the longest flights in the world, and in oceanic areas where there has historically been poor quality satellite service, that is quite an ambition.
Inmarsat said Air New Zealand joins a list of customers that includes Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, and Austrian Airlines.
Inmarsat aviation president Leo Mondale:
“We’re very excited about working with Air New Zealand. They’re an innovative organisation and have taken a fresh approach to finding the right connectivity partner.
“GX for Aviation is the only in-flight broadband solution that is fast, reliable and truly consistent, with seamless coverage across the world provided by a single operator. Our focus is on ensuring customers enjoy a frictionless inflight broadband experience.”
The first GX-equipped aircraft are expected to begin proving flights in the second half of next year, with services progressively available on Tasman, Pacific and long-haul fleets from the end of next year.
Air New Zealand is hoping to add domestic routes to the connected fleet from 2018.
N.B. Image credit: Air New Zealand