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Current as of 02/12/16 07:39PM NZST
Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Air NZ getting WiFi - next year

Domestic New Zealand jet services are likely to offer a wifi service from 2018. Photo / 123RF
Domestic New Zealand jet services are likely to offer a wifi service from 2018. Photo / 123RF

Air New Zealand will begin rolling out inflight WiFi on its jet services next year, starting with transtasman flights.

Chief executive Christopher Luxon said "Air New Zealand is in the final stages of commercial negotiations with suppliers.

Proving flights would begin in the second half of 2017 and internet services progressively available on Tasman, Pacific Island and long haul jet fleets from the end of next year, said Luxon.

The airline is negotiating with Inmarsat and Panasonic Avionics. Internet connectivity wil be supplied by Inmarsat's new global GX satellite constellation and integrated with Air New Zealand's in-cabin Panasonic Avionics technology.

Domestic New Zealand jet services were likely to offer a WiFi service from 2018.

Several airlines serving New Zealand already offer WiFi.

Emirates has had the service for several years, United Airlines and American Airlines have WiFi across the Pacific and Cathay Pacfic's new A350 aircraft to be used on the Auckland route from Hong Kong later this month also has WiFi on board.

Air New Zealnd said it would release details of any charges early next year.

Most airlines with WiFi serving New Zealand charge around US$20 for long haul sectors although Emirates offers introductory packages of data free.

Luxon said in Sydney today that given Air New Zealand operated some of the longest flights in the world, and in oceanic areas where there has historically been poor quality satellite service it had worked ''patiently'' with partners until it was comfortable with the standard of service.

"Proving flights on a partner company test aircraft have now given us the confidence to introduce what we believe will be the world's most reliable inflight connectivity. Customers will be able to use their social media channels, stay on top of emails and browse the internet,'' he said.

"Our new system will also allow us to enhance real time features within our state of the art Inflight Entertainment System as well as providing our flight crew with an enhanced ability to manage customer requests related to their ground travel."

- NZ Herald

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