Air New Zealand has announced plans to introduce free Wi-Fi on its domestic aircraft, but we’ll have to be patient…
In this post:
Air New Zealand outlines free high speed Wi-Fi goal
Air New Zealand intends to introduce free Wi-Fi throughout its domestic fleet, in partnership with Starlink. So not only will this be among the fastest Wi-Fi available on any planes, but it will be free for passengers. Starlink offers reliable high speed, low latency inflight internet. With latency as low as 30ms, passengers will be able to stream video content and much more.
There are a couple of major catches:
- Air New Zealand is only collaborating with Starlink for its domestic fleet, so don’t expect Starlink on long haul aircraft
- Air New Zealand plans to trial this Wi-Fi on the first domestic aircraft in late 2024, for a period of four to six months
- After a successful trial period, Air New Zealand plans to install this throughout the domestic fleet in 2025
If the trial is successful, you can expect Starlink Wi-Fi to eventually be installed on all Airbus A320-family aircraft flying domestically, plus on ATR-72 turboprops, representing the first time that Starlink will be installed on turboprops.
Here’s how Nikhil Ravishankar, Air New Zealand’s Chief Digital Officer, describes this partnership:
“We’re always looking at how new and innovative technology can deliver improved customer experiences and with the world’s largest satellite constellation, exploring in-motion connectivity on our aircraft with Starlink was a no brainer.
“Whether travelling for work or leisure, we know maintaining seamless internet connectivity is something that will transform the travel experience for customers. Our free and accessible WiFi onboard international flights has proved incredibly popular among customers, so we can’t wait to bring connectivity to domestic flights.”
“Don’t worry though, if you’re the type of traveller who loves some downtime while in the air, you’re under no obligation to connect and can still use the time to switch off from the world below!”
My take on Air New Zealand’s Starlink plans
It’s nice to see Air New Zealand making the investment to introduce Starlink Wi-Fi on its domestic fleet, including on turboprops, as that’s not something any airline has done before.
Now, admittedly most flights within New Zealand are extremely short, so there won’t be that much time to stay productive onboard, even with really fast Wi-Fi.
What’s interesting is that we’re seeing Starlink being introduced on the carrier’s shortest flights, as Air New Zealand continues to work on installing a slower Wi-Fi system on its international fleet. Presumably that just comes down to when contracts were signed, and technology improving at such a fast pace.
Assuming everything goes as planned, it sounds like we can look forward to much faster Wi-Fi on Air New Zealand’s domestic aircraft than on the carrier’s international aircraft.
Air New Zealand plans to install free Starlink Wi-Fi on its domestic jets, including Airbus A320-family aircraft and ATR-72 turboprops. The plan is to trial this in late 2024, and then later in 2025 install it on a widespread basis. It’s amazing to see how inflight connectivity continues to improve, not just in terms of speeds, but also in terms of pricing.
What do you make of Air New Zealand planning on adding Starlink Wi-Fi?