Air New Zealand signs Inmarsat for in-flight Wi-Fi

The New Zealand carrier will begin Wi-Fi fleetwide rollout in the second half of next year with trans-Tasman flights.

New Zealand's national carrier has teamed up and put pen to paper with Inmarsat to deploy in-flight Wi-Fi across its fleet next year.

Air New Zealand is set to begin the rollout with its long-haul Tasman and Pacific fleet at the end of next year, followed by domestic routes in 2018.

Inmarsat said in a statement that, for the first time, its GX for Aviation product would be integrated with Air New Zealand's Panasonic in-flight entertainment system.

"GX for Aviation is the only in-flight broadband solution that is fast, reliable, and truly consistent, with seamless coverage across the world provided by a single operator," Inmarsat Aviation president Leo Mondale said. "We're very excited about working with Air New Zealand. They're an innovative organisation and have taken a fresh approach to finding the right connectivity partner."

Air New Zealand flagged its intentions to introduce in-flight Wi-Fi in October, with chief executive officer Christopher Luxon claiming it would be the "world's most reliable inflight connectivity".

"Given Air New Zealand operates some of the longest flights in the world, and in oceanic areas where there has historically been poor quality satellite service, we have patiently worked with partners until comfortable that a service which meets the high expectations of our customers is available," Luxon said at the time.

Inmarsat said Air New Zealand joins a list of customers that includes Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, and Austrian Airlines.

In October, Inmarsat signed a deal with Vodafone to provide satellite connectivity to Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

"Deploying satellite connectivity to complement terrestrial networks for IoT applications changes the Internet of Things into the Internet of Everywhere," said Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce.

"The growth in mission-critical IoT applications is driving demand for connectivity with unprecedented reach, range, and reliability on a global basis. This agreement marks a first for Inmarsat: Enabling a mobile operator to utilise broadband roaming services on our global network."

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