Air New Zealand‘s connected aircraft collection expanded to its 787 Dreamliner fleet this week. Aircraft ZK-NZF returned to commercial service after spending the month of June in the shop for the installation and certification of the kit. Like the rest of the carrier’s connected fleet the 787 is online via the GX Aviation satellite solution from Inmarsat.
The aircraft made a couple trans-Tasman hops for its first day of online service but is not staying so close to home for long. It flew onward to Rarotonga on Friday and is expected to serve Shanghai on Saturday.
The 787 is the 20th of Air New Zealand’s aircraft to be fitted with the inflight connectivity solution. No word yet from the company on a timeline to complete the installation on the remaining dozen 787s in the fleet. Ship NZE is on the ground and has been for several months now, likely more related to Rolls Royce engine issues than to a wifi installation.
The 787 installation comes almost two years after the carrier’s first connected aircraft took flight. That was ZK-OKS, a 777-300ER. Last September Air New Zealand also began installations on its single-aisle fleet as new A321neo aircraft took the kit from the Airbus factory. Resuming the retrofit program is a significant step forward, both for the airline and for Inmarsat as a service provider.