All passengers on Cathay Pacific flights into and out of Australia will have access to inflight internet WI-FI by 2020 after the airline announced it was equipping the necessary technology on board its Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 777 fleet.
The oneworld alliance partner flies to Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney from its Hong Kong hub with a mixture of A330-300, A350-900 and 777-300ER equipment.
While its A350-900s which serve Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth currently offer WI-FI on board, the A330-300s and 777-300ERs do not.
However, Cathay Pacific said on Thursday it would begin installing WI-FI across its entire widebody fleet from the middle of 2018, with the rollout expected to be completed by 2020. This included A330s operated by Cathay’s regional wing Cathay Dragon.
The airline is using Gogo’s 2Ku technology for its A330 and 777 fleet. (According to the Gogo website the 2Ku technology features a dual antenna – one for the forward link that transmits data to the aircraft and the second for the return link that receives data.)
“We have been listening to our customers who have told us that staying connected inflight is important to them,” Cathay Pacific chief customer and commercial officer Paul Loo said in a statement.
“We envisage that by 2020, all of our wide-body aircraft will have inflight connectivity capabilities. This will open up a wealth of opportunities for us to provide more innovative experiences for our customers.”
Cathay’s A350-900s were delivered from the Airbus factory fitted with the hardware for inflight internet WI-FI. The airline went with Panasonic Avionics for its A350-900 connectivity.
A spokesperson said Gogo’s 2Ku was chosen for the A330s and 777s after a vigorous and thorough selection process. Further, the spokesperson said Cathay was working on enhancing its existing A350-900 connectivity solution.
The airline is the only nonstop operator between Australia and Hong Kong offering inflight internet WI-FI, albeit only on A350-900 operated services.
Virgin Australia, which is also using Gogo’s 2Ku, is rolling out connectivity on its fleet of six Airbus A330-200s that are used both domestically and on the Melbourne-Hong Kong route. However, these half-dozen aircraft were not expected to have inflight internet WI-FI installed until the second half of 2019.
Although Hong Kong Airlines has connectivity on its A350-900s, it does not operate the aircraft type on its flights to Cairns and the Gold Coast.
Meanwhile, Qantas was still working through plans for inflight internet WI-FI for its international services as it continued to equip 737-800s and A330s with the technology for domestic services.