There is hope in the air that Australian carriers such as Qantas and Virgin Australia may start offering in-flight WiFi on international routes in the near future. Under pressure from partners and competitors who are already doing it, the Aussie carriers are in a rethink mode.
The scale of pressure was evident from the scale of inflight WiFi penetration. The airline product differentiation platform Routehappy’s annual Global State of In-Flight WiFi report lists out major carriers offering the facility.
“American, Delta, and United now offer WiFi on nearly all flights from Australia to the United States, but neither Qantas nor Virgin Australia do,” said Jason Rabinowitz, data manager for airline product differentiation platform Routehappy, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
“At some point, passenger demand is going to force them to offer it,” he added.
So far Qantas and Virgin have excused from in-flight WiFi citing issues such as passenger acceptance, slow satellite speeds and concerns over investments in a technology that may go obsolete when competing solutions emerge in the market. However, both the airlines have not ruled out that option and said they are exploring various options.
The Routehappy’s report said 60 airlines worldwide are offering in-flight WiFi. Carriers such as Delta, Aeromexico, Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa are now planning high-speed internet systems.
Rabinowitz said when one airline takes the first step, others would follow suit.
“However, no Australian airline has taken that first step, so it may be a while,” he said.
There is the example of Singapore Airlines’s Inmarsat’s KA-band Global Xpress technology offering ultra high speed internet.
Australian Business Traveller editor, David Flynn, is confident that in-flight internet in Aussie carriers will be a reality with the launch of the Inmarsat Global Xpress service.
Meanwhile, Net-worxs Software has emerged as a premium provider of emerging digital platforms in marketing and advertising. With a wider portfolio of products such as custom digital branding, mobile, social WiFi, social media links and customer database, analytics and reporting systems, it has sealed a partnership with in Purple WiFi.
“Net-worxs has taken Purple WiFi and integrated it into their offering, enabling fast and scalable installations with their customer base. As a Cloud-based platform, Purple WiFi offers unique flexibility and features that bring previously unattainable benefits to retailers through an easy to administer online portal,” said Gavin Wheeldon, CEO at Purple WiFi, according to a press release.