With aims of profitability by mid-2023, Virgin Australia is ready to bring back inflight Wi-Fi for its fleet. The carrier announced plans to (re)activate the Intelsat 2Ku system on board.
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.– Virgin Australia Group Chief Customer and Digital Officer, Paul Jones
In many ways today’s news is a callback to 2017, when Virgin Australia first announced deployment of the 2Ku solution on its mainline fleet. Most of the carrier’s 737s still have the hardware to support the service on board from that original program.
One big difference this time around: The service will come with a cost for most customers. Top tier elites and business class travelers will have complimentary access to the services. Everyone else on board, however, will be asked to pay to get online.
“We’re going to deliver a streaming-quality, always-on, reliable inflight internet product onboard Virginia Australia’s fleet of 737 aircraft,” said Dave Bijur, SVP of Intelsat Commercial Aviation. “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.”
Virgin Australia will reactivate 55 existing 2Ku tails, according to Intelsat. This is the bulk of the carrier’s fleet, but skips over about a third of the frames. Presumably those remaining dark will be the older 737 NGs in the fleet.
The MAX deliveries will all be online. Some will be after-market activations, but Intelsat expects to ahve some delivered with the 2Ku gear installed by Boeing in the factory.
Activation of the fleet will start before the end of the year and run through mid-2024.
Note: This story was updated to correct the installation timing (error in the press release) and expand on the configured fleet details.
More news from APEX EXPO 2022
- Panasonic Avionics, OneWeb team for inflight internet service
- Anuvu boosts Ka-band connectivity with dual panel antenna
- Virgin Australia picks 2Ku for Wi-Fi boost
- Panasonic Avionics highlights Stellar Blu antenna for OneWeb LEO service
- Dimmable windows coming to the A350 with Starlux
- A first look at Spirit’s new seats
- Bringing the moving map online: Panasonic’s Arc gets a data feed
- Pairing, casting and streaming: The next generation of inflight entertainment emerges
- Starlink/JSX STC slips
- SLAs suck: Seeking a service specification shift
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