Saturday, April 8, 2017

Qantas fires first shot in battle for Australia's domestic market

Qantas has flicked the switch on its domestic in-flight Wi-Fi offering — the latest innovation aimed at snaring more of Australia's competitive domestic market.

Over the next 18 months the nation's flag carrier will roll out Wi-Fi on its entire domestic fleet, enabling downloads once the aircraft door has closed.

Speaking with CNBC at a media launch for the Wi-Fi offering, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said intense competition in the domestic market has prompted new initiatives.

"We always want to stay ahead... offering Wi-Fi for free enhances our advantage over the competition. If you're ahead, stay ahead," Joyce said.

Qantas is planning on large usage by customers once the service is rolled out on the network.

"We think 50 to 60 percent of passengers will use the service because it's going to be free," Joyce explained.

Qantas unsuccessfully trialed a Wi-Fi offering on some of its international fleet, but pulled the trial after a lukewarm response and unreliable service.

The airline isn't planning on such issues on the roll out across its domestic network.

"This is the first time we're able to offer a very high speed service and consistent product across Australia because the national broadband network have launched two satellites that cover the entire continent," Joyce told CNBC.

Domestic rival Virgin Australia will launch a similar Wi-Fi offering toward the middle of 2017 as on-board technology offerings firm up as the next battleground in the Australian domestic market.

(Matthew Taylor - CNBC Asia Pacific)

No comments: