Qantas has launched inflight wifi on its Boeing 737-800, enabling connectivity on Australian domestic flights.

Available in beta mode on the B737 aircraft, the launch marks the start of wifi rollout across 80 Qantas aircraft, due for completion by the end of 2018.

Using broadband providers Viasat and Nbn’s Sky Muster satellite service, the wifi offers speeds up to 10 times faster than other on-board providers using idle data capacity, with the signal reaching the aircraft as it flies through each satellites’ 101 spot beams across Australia.

Netflix and Spotify are now available, with Foxtel and Stan to follow in the coming weeks. Voice calls, however, are not permitted.

Commenting on the launch, CEO of Qantas Group Alan Joyce said:

“Inflight wifi has been on our wish list for quite a while, but the sheer size of Australia meant it was hard to offer a service that was fast and reliable. The Nbn has made it possible and we’re really pleased to be able to tap into this service.

“The technology we’re using on-board this 737 is a generation ahead of what most airlines around the world have and there’s a fair amount of complexity involved. That’s why we’ve installed it on one aircraft for the first few months until we’ve finished fine tuning and are ready to roll out to the rest of the domestic fleet.

“On flights between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, where we have a lot of business travellers, we expect the system to get a real work out with email and web browsing. We also know customers want down time, which is why we’ve partnered with streaming services like Foxtel and Stan so there’s no shortage of things to help people tune out.”

Phoebe Jayes