Qantas is set to launch free high-speed Wi-Fi on its international flights by late 2025.
According to an exclusive report in The Australian, the launch coincides with the launch of Project Sunrise, a series of non-stop flights between Sydney and London operated by new A350-1000s.
The airline has invested $100 million in lounges to coincide with these flights.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce expressed his desire to offer Wi-Fi on international flights sooner, possibly by next year, but this will depend on the availability of satellite coverage.
The lack of Wi-Fi on Qantas international flights has been perceived as a disadvantage, as most other premium carriers offer internet access, albeit at a cost.
Joyce is keen to offer Wi-Fi for free, but only if it meets the airline’s standards.
He told The Australian, “Our intent has always been to offer it free to customers, and I think we’re one of the only airlines that give Wi-Fi for free.”
Joyce explained that previous tests of Wi-Fi on A380s showed that the low-band satellite coverage resulted in a poor product, which is why the airline did not offer it for free.
Joyce added that the delay in offering international Wi-Fi was due to a lack of a similar product.
However, he said that new satellites had been launched, and coverage is expected to appear from 2024-25 onwards.
The CEO aims to equip Project Sunrise aircraft with high-speed Wi-Fi, offering a similar experience to domestic Wi-Fi.
In comparison, other airlines offering Wi-Fi on international flights, including Emirates, Etihad, Japan Airlines, and Qatar Airways, charge fees to restrict usage.
Joyce criticised such charges, stating, “I’d be very frustrated as a frequent flyer, streaming Netflix on Melbourne to Sydney and then when I get on to Sydney-LA only being able to do emails and it’s so bad I have to pay for it because I can’t let everybody on the aircraft use it.”
Qantas’s Project Sunrise flights will also have new first and business-class products along with Wi-Fi.
Joyce said these new suites are “the best in the world” and will ensure a comfortable trip for premium travellers over the 20-hour plus journey.
Additionally, Qantas plans to invest $100 million in its lounge network, including a new first lounge at Heathrow Airport, significant upgrades of the Sydney and Melbourne international business lounges, a new Qantas Club at Hobart Airport, and a larger lounge in WA tourism hotspot, Broome.
Qantas is expected to announce a profit of between $1.35bn and $1.45bn for the six months to December 31, 2022, on the back of solid demand for travel and high airfares.
The lounges are considered crucial to building loyalty among travellers and are accessible to eligible frequent flyers of gold status and above, as well as business and first-class passengers.
Leave a Reply