30 March 2017 | Customer

Virgin Australia partners with Gogo and Optus Satellite to introduce inflight wi-fi

  • Customer testing period on a Boeing 737 aircraft to begin in April
  • Passengers to enjoy access to wi-fi and Netflix, Stan and Pandora on their devices during their flight
  • Full roll out of wi-fi planned following customer testing period

Virgin Australia today announced a partnership with leading inflight connectivity provider Gogo and Australia’s leading satellite provider Optus to provide customers with inflight wi-fi on domestic and international services.

From April 2017, Virgin Australia will commence a three month customer testing period of Gogo’s proven 2Ku technology on a single Boeing 737-800 aircraft. This period will be used to gather feedback from customers, with a full installation of 2Ku across Virgin Australia’s fleet of Boeing 737-800, Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft planned following the customer testing period. The technology will leverage existing Ku satellites provided by Australia’s largest satellite provider Optus Satellite for domestic and New Zealand services and Intelsat and SES for all other international flights.

All Virgin Australia guests travelling on the wi-fi-enabled aircraft during the customer testing period will be able to enjoy wi-fi free of charge during their flight. These guests will also be able to access streaming services Netflix, Stan and Pandora on their devices while in the air. In addition, Virgin Australia is giving all guests who travel on the wi-fi-enabled aircraft three months’ access to Pandora Plus and Netflix on us. Guests who are new to Stan can also enjoy three months’ access included.

John Thomas, Group Executive Virgin Australia Airlines, said: “We are confident that by working with Gogo and Optus Satellite and using their proven technology we can deliver the best possible and most reliable connectivity and entertainment experience in the air.

“Virgin Australia guests will soon be able to stay connected with their family, friends and colleagues on board while also enjoying the fantastic entertainment offered by Netflix, Stan and Pandora. Inflight wi-fi also presents exciting opportunities for our team to deliver even more of the great customer service for which they are famous.

“The new connectivity solution will complement Virgin Australia’s popular onboard wireless inflight entertainment system, which revolutionised domestic and Trans-Tasman inflight entertainment when it was introduced in 2013.

“Feedback from our guests during the customer testing period will help us tailor our inflight wi-fi offering to their needs,” Mr Thomas said.

Gogo already successfully provides inflight connectivity for a number of airlines including several committed to the 2Ku technology. Airlines include Aer Lingus, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France KLM, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, GOL, Iberia, Japan Transoceanic Air and Virgin Atlantic.

Michael Small, Gogo president and CEO, said: "We are delighted to bring Gogo's industry leading 2Ku technology to an iconic brand like Virgin Australia.

"2Ku delivers a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today, including the ability to stream video. Importantly, 2Ku is built on an open architecture and can leverage new technology advancements in the future, which means the technology can provide passengers with a superior connectivity experience now and in the future."

Optus Satellite Vice President, Paul Sheridan, said: “Optus Satellite has delivered connectivity and access to entertainment, Internet, voice and data for customers across Australia and New Zealand for over 30 years. We welcome the opportunity to provide dedicated satellite capacity to support Virgin Australia and Gogo in the delivery of a premier in-flight customer experience.”

Virgin Australia will finalise its business model after considering customer feedback and the results of the testing period.

Virgin Australia and Gogo will work with relevant regulators to obtain approval for its inflight wi-fi.

Additional Information:

  • Gogo’s 2Ku technology uses a streamlined dual-antenna (one for forward link, one for return link) to deliver simultaneous transmissions.
  • Optus Satellite has the largest fleet of satellites servicing Australia and New Zealand, with five satellites currently in geostationary orbit.
  • Guests who are due to travel on the wi-fi-enabled aircraft during the customer testing period will be notified onboard that wi-fi will be available on their flight and provided with instructions on how to access the wi-fi.
  • These guests will be able to access the full catalogues of television shows and films from Stan and Netflix, as well as ad-free music streaming with Pandora Plus.
  • Virgin Australia will offer guests who travel on the wi-fi-enabled aircraft during the customer testing period three months’ access to Pandora Plus and Netflix on us. Guests with existing accounts for those services will be given the opportunity to apply the offer to their Netflix and Pandora accounts. Guests who do not have existing accounts for Netflix or Pandora will have the opportunity to sign up to enjoy three months of access. Guests without an existing subscription to Stan will also have the opportunity to subscribe and enjoy three months’ access included. Terms and conditions apply.