Virgin Australia picks Intelsat for inflight Wi-Fi for 737s

Elite pax get it for free, most will pay

Virgin Australia has selected Intelsat to provide high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi to it’s fleet of existing 737NG aircraft and future-delivery 737MAX aircraft.   

The inflight Wi-Fi will be free for the airline’s Business Class passengers, Platinum members of its loyalty scheme (Velocity) and Beyond folk (that’s invite-only, better-than-Platinum membership).

Everyone else will have to pay – no details about the charges yet.

Intelsat’s 2Ku satellite connectivity solution will support video streaming, web browsing, and anything else Virgin’s passengers want to do with Wi-Fi-enabled devices onboard their flights.  

Intelsat says ‘the 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’.  

Given that a recent survey of Virgin Australia passengers indicated Wi-Fi connectivity was an important part of travel for one in three leisure passengers and almost half of business passengers.

So you’d expect them to get it done asap. But those timings don’t seem too ambitious.

Paul Jones, Virgin Australia Group Chief Customer and Digital Officer:

“We are laser focused on creating great travel experiences for our guests when they fly with Virgin Australia. We also listened to our guests, and overwhelmingly they told us that Wi-Fi was important to them.”

US company Intelsat operates one of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial networks and is a leading provider of inflight connectivity (IFC).

It is also Intelsat’s first installation on the Boeing 737MAX.

Dave Bijur, SVP of Intelsat Commercial Aviation:

“We’re going to deliver a streaming-quality, always-on, reliable inflight internet product onboard Virginia Australia’s fleet of 737 aircraft.

“We’re adding 737MAX aircraft for the first time with Virgin Australia, and they’ve made a technology decision that expands our relationship and will delight their guests.”

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Virgin Australia (VA)