Qantas launches WiFi on domestic Airbus A330 flights

By David Flynn, May 30 2018
Qantas launches WiFi on domestic Airbus A330 flights

Qantas will launch inflight Internet on its domestic Airbus A330 jets in June, allowing travellers on the big twin-aisle to enjoy the same fast and free WiFi service as on the workhorse Boeing 737 fleet.

Read the Australian Business Traveller review of Qantas WiFi 

The move will be welcomed by passengers on the transcontinental flights, which are largely the domain of the Airbus A330-200s for the 4-5 hour cross-country trek. 

Qantas has fitted the first of its 12 domestic A330-200s with the same Ka-band satellite tech as the Boeing 737s, with test flights over the coming fortnight. By the end of June, a second WiFi-equipped A330 will take to the skies.

There are currently no plans to bring international WiFi to the long-range A330-300 jets.

However, on those instances when a domestic A330-200 is rostered onto one of the international routes to Asia, WiFi will be available to the tip of the Northern Territory and Queensland, which are covered by the national footprint of the NBN Skymuster satellite.

Qantas originally intended to offer inflight Internet on its A330s from early 2017, later pushing that back to early 2018 and then postponing the rollout to 2019-2020.

The revised timetable will not only please east-west flyers but also give Qantas an edge for business travellers against competitor Virgin Australia, which has previously said it won't begin its own Airbus A330 WiFi overhaul until late 2018, with the upgrade for its six jets stretching out to 2020.

However, at least two of those jets will be dedicated to Virgin's growing Asian network, which from the second half of this year will see Sydney-Hong Kong flights added to the current Melbourne-Hong Kong route.

Virgin currently counts only six A330s in its fleet, but has begun shifting those jets onto its nascent Asian network, starting with Melbourne-Hong Kong in mid-2017 and, from July 2018, Sydney-Hong Kong.

Qantas now plans for almost all of its Boeing 737 and Airbus A330-200 jets to be upgraded with WiFi by the end of 2018, with the remaining aircraft to be equipped during 2019.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 314

Nice move Qantas!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1388

I thought they had initially announced a hybrid Ku/Ka antenna for the 332s, which would provide Asian coverage with ViaSat.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2389

I don't recall a dual-band antenna actually being announced (could be wrong of course!) – and while there was a rumour of such, we checked with QF yesterday and they confirmed the A330-200s will have a single Ka-band antenna (QF confirmed that a dual-band antenna was looked at but decided against).

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 166

I did a Melbourne - Sydney flight last week on a WiFi equipped 737 but it wasn’t available all flight. Is that common?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 20

Yes. Far more common

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 166

Thanks. So Qantas WiFi is as much marketing than reality then. There was no announcement, simply no service.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2015

Total posts 59

I was on Syd-Mel Sunday night and it was available. For someone like me who likes to switch off when I'm in the air, I put it through it paces as a test and was very happy with the speed.

23 Sep 2015

Total posts 46

I wonder if one of the flights tracked as far south as they sometimes do whether the signal would still hold up? Across the bottom of most of SA and WA there's only 2 cells...

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 692

I agree. If the NBN coverage map is correct, I'd expect that a lot of MEL-PER-MEL flights especially would suffer patchy coverage. Having said that, whilst QF continue to offer it as a free service, who can complain?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 20

If they are offering the same WiFi as they offer on their 737s then that will be close to zero.

I fly in 737s several times a month and have had WiFi once or maybe twice in the past year.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

17 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

So now Qantas has 787s and wifi on it's 330s.

What's next ? Noise cancelling headphones and a personal video screen? If ever there was an argument for open skies and more competition then this is it. Can't help but think our airlines will go the same way as our auto manufacturing industry.

Are the reciprocal benefits for domestic lounges only or for international as well?

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

03 Apr 2018

Total posts 1

Will this mean the end of lost planes as the internet connection can help determine your GPS co-ordinates of your phone?

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

01 Dec 2018

Total posts 1

So, Qantas didn't installed wifi on their a330-300? and until now there is no plan being announce for their a330-300 wifi? shame, i already booked cgk-mel (via syd) and hoping to see their a330-300 on syd-mel legs with wifi.


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