Air New Zealand has signed an in-flight connectivity partnership with Starlink, introducing free internet onboard its domestic aircraft with the aim of “redefining domestic travel” across Aotearoa.

In late 2024, the collaboration will see its initial installation on an ATR domestic aircraft featuring a trial period of four to six months, with plans for further expansion across its fleet in 2025.

Air New Zealand said it planned to expand the use of Starlink Internet on its additional fleet based on the trial performance.

According to the airline, its passengers will be able to access the internet “as if they were in their lounge at home”.

Currently providing in-flight internet on its international flights, Air New Zealand highlighted that the majority of its 787s and its newly returned 777s and Neos are completely Wi-Fi enabled.

Nikhil Ravishankar, Air New Zealand’s chief digital officer, emphasised how this partnership will boost the customer experience.

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Ravishankar said: “Whether travelling for work or leisure, we know maintaining seamless internet connectivity is something that will transform the travel experience for customers. Our free and accessible WiFi onboard international flights has proved incredibly popular among customers, so we can’t wait to bring connectivity to domestic flights.

Starlink’s offering includes reliable high-speed, low latency in-flight internet, with latency as low as 30ms. Its solution is connected via an antenna above the aircraft, which will direct signals to orbiting satellites in space, mirroring connections.

Jason Fritch a Vice President of Starlink at SpaceX added: “We’re proud to work with Air New Zealand to bring Starlink’s high-speed internet to their aircraft and extend this game-changing in-flight connectivity experience to more passengers around the world.”

Starlink has increased its offerings across the transport sector. As reported by our sister site, Ship Technology, Starlink partnered with shipping giant Maersk to place its solution aboard 330 of Maersk’s independently operated container ships.