Qantas delays Airbus A330 WiFi rollout to 2019-2020

Qantas delays Airbus A330 WiFi rollout to 2019-2020

EXCLUSIVE | Qantas will push back the installation of inflight Internet to its domestic Airbus A330 fleet until 2019, with the extensive upgrade tipped to stretch through into 2020.

The airline originally suggested its first Airbus A330s – which tend to dominate the transcontinental corridor between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – would be fitted with the fast and free satellite-based WiFi service from "early 2017", and later pushed that back to "early 2018."

However, Australian Business Traveller has learned that the domestic A330-200 jets now won't be kitted out for sky-high surfing until the start of 2019, with the 12-strong fleet unlikely to be completed until early 2020.

A Qantas spokesperson confirmed that "almost all of the domestic A330s will be equipped during 2019."

"While the fitout of each aircraft takes about a week to complete, we need to combine it with periodic heavy maintenance to avoid disrupting our schedule."

The tardy twin-aisles will also delay the completion target for Qantas' domestic fleet, which the airline has previously said would be "upgraded by the end by the end of 2018."

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Qantas' decision will disappoint many business travellers who regularly tackle the popular east-west routes, spending around five hours each way – often the better part of their working day – in the air but out of touch with the office.

However, it won't hand much of an advantage to challenger 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.

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.

Meanwhile, bringing Qantas WiFi to the airline's workhorse Boeing 737s remains largely on track.

"We currently have WiFi fitted to 22 aircraft and expect to have 40 by the middle of the year," the spokesperson said. "By the end of 2018, the vast majority of the Boeing 737 fleet will be completed."

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

18 comments

  • Lala295

    Lala295

    1 Mar, 2018 07:42 am

    I am hoping these delays relate to finding a wifi source for international flights. Would love to see all A330 domestic or international covered!
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  • Scott Brown

    DownSouth

    1 Mar, 2018 08:21 am

    Delays to A330 and no international wifi from QF however more 737’s currently fitted, puts Virgin almost in front with 1/2 777 flleet already fitted to US with wifi available today and plans in place to rapidly fit international 737 fleet to cover NZ and the pacific. A330’s to come later the article states, but that’s now the case for both airlines.
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  • Simon Coveney

    Covvers

    1 Mar, 2018 09:01 am

    What’s your point Down South?

     
    The article was about the delays in the roll out of WiFi on the QF A332 fleet.
     
    In any event your comparison is flawed. This article was about the domestic A332 fleet. Nothing was said about the QF international fleet. Your reference, therefore, to VAs limited international fleet is not even comparing apples with apples.
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  • RK

    Ryan K

    1 Mar, 2018 09:00 am

    I was on a recently wifi-equipped Qantas Boeing 737 between Hobart and Melbourne last month. At first I thought it was great to be able to jump online in the air but soon found myself checking work emails. I think down the track we're going to miss being able to completely shut off to the outside world when flying. Another sign of the times.
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  • Mr Miyagi

    Mr Miyagi
    Banned

    1 Mar, 2018 02:19 pm

    Pretty sure Qantas did not force you to check your work emails.
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  • RK

    Ryan K

    1 Mar, 2018 04:59 pm

    But will employers start expecting us to be available with our email switched on in years to come? Probably.
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  • traveller99

    traveller99

    1 Mar, 2018 06:21 pm

    "But will employers start expecting us to be available with our email switched on in years to come? "

    As a small business owner, not being connected for five hours just means I have another five hours of work to do when I'm on the ground.

    And if your employer is expecting you to be connected on a flight, is it really that unreasonable, particularly if it's a daytime flight during normal business hours? And any employer who expected you to be working out of hours would be unreasonable, unless it was normal for you to work out of hours. What I'm saying is that I don't think employers are suddenly going to demand you work anymore than you already do.
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  • Mark Waite

    Mark Waite

    2 Mar, 2018 07:03 pm

    Some of us “employees” treat business as though our own. If I miss 5hrs in the air, I expect I will make up for it once on the ground. In reality, I will schedule to impact my time rather than lose my employer money. Yeah ... I’m a dinosaur!!
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  • Cyphar

    Cyphar

    5 Mar, 2018 03:00 pm

    "And if your employer is expecting you to be connected on a flight"

    Who does? I never expect any of my employees to be communicable on a flight. Nor would any sensible employer for that matter. If I'm sending one of my staff to Singapore. That's their work day. I DON'T expect another 8 hours of work out of them for that day.
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  • Mr Miyagi

    Mr Miyagi
    Banned

    2 Mar, 2018 08:36 am

    What a silly argument. Do ppl complain about internet access on trains or buses?
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  • MarkJohnSon

    MarkJohnSon
    Banned

    1 Mar, 2018 02:43 pm

    As I stated in another post here recently, you are free to shut-off your mobile phone at any time of your choosing.

    The reality is, unless you happen to work in an emergency ward, the vast majority of emails you receive are not important nor time critical.

    Switch off your phone for the rest of the day and see if you still have your job tomorrow. I guarantee you will.
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  • Cyphar

    Cyphar

    5 Mar, 2018 02:57 pm

    Spot on. Everybody here acts like they are a CEO to a multinational. The reality is that if your business can't account for your business travel AS work, then perhaps you should be turning down business travel to make a point.

    Ofcourse the reality is stuff like this is what inflates the fragile ego's of these self-important people that think the world revolves around them.
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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    1 Mar, 2018 09:25 am

    There was always a question how QF would address their WiFi on their international fleet. Their SkyMuster solution on the 737s performs very well but only covers flights within or near the Australian continent. Qantas will probably have to go with a global solution like GoGo for its international fleet.

    They also have the potential issue with their 787s that flights such as PER-LHR are stretching the range to the type's maximum and whether the aerodynamic disturbance of the antenna on the roof will cause range difficulties.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    1 Mar, 2018 07:22 pm

    Whilst there are positives to inflight internet, I think these are outweighed by the negatives. I do NOT want people expecting responses to emails that they send me when I'm in the air! One of the beautiful aspects of flying is that you are outside of the range of communications devices. I'm happy to leave it that way.
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  • RK

    Ryan K

    2 Mar, 2018 11:17 am

    I couldn't agree more and my point, exactly.
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  • Mr Miyagi

    Mr Miyagi
    Banned

    2 Mar, 2018 02:17 pm

    Completely typical of the selfish me me generation. Expecting the whole world to forgo a convenience because they themselves have no semblance of self control. Don’t want wifi - don’t log on!!

    And a newsflash for those who think the world is waiting for their immediate and profound responses to emails - you’re not that important.

    Utterly ridiculous argument against what is a long overdue service.
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  • Simon Coveney

    Covvers

    2 Mar, 2018 01:36 pm

    I just can't believe how people can take something which is objectively a good thing and turn it into a negative.

    As has been said by a number of other people, the simple asnwer is to turn your phone off. No one is forcing you to use the WiFi service offered in flight.

    If the problem is the expectations of other people, then you need to reset those expectations. Don't allow yourself to be trampled upon by the expectations of others.
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  • Matt Brown

    mdbrown

    2 Mar, 2018 11:00 pm

    Disappointed WIFI is getting rolled out in the 737's.
    I was hoping the 737 would get rolled out to pasture its self.
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Guest

15 Dec, 2018 02:03 pm

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