High-speed WiFi coming to Qantas international flights from late 2024

by James Wilkinson

Qantas will retrofit its existing fleet of international aircraft with fast and free WiFi, with the service due to be progressively switched on from the end of calendar year 2024.

The expansion of Wi-Fi to the airline’s international fleet was deferred until global satellite technology was able to deliver a similar quality connection that Qantas customers have when travelling domestically.

According to the carrier, the speed and reliability of Qantas’ domestic Wi-Fi service has driven average take-up rates of 75 per cent, with some routes showing up to 100 per cent uptake.

Qantas Group CEO, Vanessa Hudson, said: “We know that staying connected is important to customers on international flights, and we’ve deliberately waited for the same high-speed connection we use domestically to be available on our overseas routes.

“The new widebody aircraft we have on order in the next few years will come with high-speed WiFi enabled but today we’re announcing we’ll be fitting it to our existing long-haul aircraft from late 2024, which coincides with a new satellite launching that will significantly expand coverage,” she said.

Qantas will offer ‘fast and free’ international Wi-Fi with enough bandwidth for every passenger to enjoy a fast and consistent connection.

The service will tap into the latest technology from global broadband services provider, Viasat, giving customers on international flights the ability to stream movies, TV shows, the latest news bulletins and live sports.

Qantas’ A330, B787 and A380 fleets will progressively be retrofitted to enable connection to Viasat’s expanding next-generation satellite network.

The A330-200LR installation program will be built into the existing heavy maintenance schedule starting in March 2024.

According to the carrier, installation on all eight of these aircraft – many of which operate flights from Brisbane to Los Angeles – is expected to be complete by the end of this calendar year, coinciding with the launch of a new satellite covering South East Asia.
Installation programs for the B787, A380 and A330-300s will commence from 2025 and new aircraft currently on order, including A350 and B787 fleets, will be WiFi capable when delivered.

Jetstar will introduce onboard Wi-Fi on its international widebody fleet from 2026, as part of its Boeing 787 cabin refresh.