In a step toward transforming air travel in Aotearoa, Air New Zealand is working with the satellite internet service provider, Starlink, to introduce free internet onboard domestic aircraft.
Starlink will be installed on a domestic jet and, in a world first, on an ATR in late 2024. After a successful trial, Air New Zealand will then look to roll out Starlink internet on other aircraft in its domestic fleet in 2025.
The Starlink System
Starlink, recognized as the world’s largest satellite constellation, is at the forefront of providing in-motion connectivity across the globe.
The unique feature of these satellites, orbiting in low-earth orbit, ensures a consistent and robust signal as they are always overhead or in close proximity.
The service guarantees reliable high-speed and low-latency in-flight internet, with latency as impressively low as 30 milliseconds.
This translates into an unparalleled online experience for passengers, enabling activities like seamless streaming of content from multiple devices and engaging in other high data rate applications.
Transformative In-Flight Experiences
From streaming videos to working remotely while airborne, and staying in touch with friends and family through multiple connected devices, Air New Zealand customers will now enjoy internet access akin to their home lounges.
Nikhil Ravishankar, Chief Digital Officer at Air New Zealand, emphasizes the airline’s commitment to elevating customer experiences throughout their journey.
“Exploring in-motion connectivity on our aircraft with Starlink was a no-brainer. We believe that seamless internet connectivity is pivotal in transforming the travel experience for our customers, whether they’re on a business trip or leisurely adventure,” says Ravishankar.
He adds, “Our free and accessible WiFi onboard international flights has been incredibly popular, and we are excited to extend this connectivity to our domestic flights.”
“For those who prefer a moment of tranquility in the air, don’t worry – you’re under no obligation to connect. The choice is yours to switch off from the world below!”
Starlink VP Comments
Jason Fritch, Vice President of Starlink at SpaceX, expresses pride in collaborating with Air New Zealand to bring high-speed internet to their aircraft.
“We’re proud to work with Air New Zealand to bring Starlink’s high-speed internet to their aircraft and extend this game-changing in-flight connectivity experience to more passengers around the world,” says Fritch.
During the initial trial period, the airline’s cabin crew will inform customers about the opportunity to connect to the internet during the flight.
If the trial proves successful, with plans to roll out internet across additional aircraft in 2025, the airline intends to update its app.
This enhancement will allow customers to check whether in-flight internet is available before their domestic travel, similar to the information provided for international services.
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