Qantas will launch its iPad-based ‘QStreaming’ in-flight entertainment system on its east coast fleet of Boeing 767s starting later this year.
The system, which allows passengers to access more than 200 hours of free movies, TV shows and other content via a Qantas-provided tablet, will hit the first of the airline’s 767s in the fourth quarter of this year. Qantas is looking at options to expand the service to other aircraft types in the future, a spokesperson said.
The launch follows a successful trial of the wi-fi system on a single 767 earlier this year. The trial also looked at allowing passengers to access content via their own wi-fi enabled devices, but Qantas decided not to pursue that option for now, the spokesperson said.
“Our customers were the first in the world to experience the ground-breaking wi-fi entertainment technology and we received great feedback from our customers during the trial this year,” Qantas domestic chief Lyell Strambi said. ”We’re now looking at ways to evolve this technology platform even further with our partner Panasonic to bring new standards of in-flight entertainment to our customers.”
Feedback from the trail led Qantas to develop a stand that allows the iPad to be set upright on the seat-back tray or secured to the back of the seat when passengers need their hands free, such as during meal times.
QStreaming, which Qantas has described as a world first, arrives as airlines look for alternatives to the traditional seat-back IFE, a significant source of weight, power consumption and maintenance costs. Virgin Australia has signed on for a Lufthansa-developed wi-fi based IFE scheduled for launch this year, while Jetstar last year began renting out pre-loaded iPads.
The Qantas system, which streams content from an on-board server, is based on Panasonic eXW technology.