Air New Zealand is finally sporting an inflight connectivity radome on one of its aircraft. Ship ZK-OKS, a 777-300ER, returned to service last week after a month in Singapore where the Inmarsat Global Xpress (“GX”) kit was installed. The carrier announced last December that it will fit its entire fleet with the GX service.
And the company is wasting no time in further installations. As OKS left the install line ZK-OKP took its place. The seven 77Ws in the Air New Zealand fleet are the first aircraft to receive the system as a retrofit install. It will also be delivered on new A321neo planes as they arrive in the fleet from Airbus, though those deliveries are now delayed into 2018 as Airbus works through engine reliability issues.
With this aircraft Air New Zealand joins Singapore Airlines in having GX installed on its 77W; both are being installed in Singapore and both have a second aircraft in for retrofit at this time (SQ has ship 9V-SWW in the shop nearing a month now). While Air New Zealand does not yet have its GX service active Singapore Airlines does in partnership with SITAONAIR. The first plane entered service a couple weeks ago and brings new pricing structures to the company’s offerings.
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SITAONAIR says that it is still testing different price points and allowances on the product. It hopes to use its knowledge of passenger behavior from the few years it has flown with the slower SwiftBroadband service on board. Stephan Egli, SITAONAIR’s Commercial Regional VP for Middle-East, Africa & Europe, indicated during the recent APEX EXPO event that the company will move away from megabyte-based packages (hooray!!) to time and speed combinations targeting the “price elasticity” that passengers have historically been willing to spend. He also noted that of course the company hopes to be able to charge more for delivering a better connectivity experience on board but that it is too early to tell how that will play out.
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