plans to introduce inflight phone connectivity on the first two of its new , but is yet to decide whether it will be offered on subsequent deliveries.
The first of Air NZ’s new A320s arrived last week, with voice and data capability to be introduced within the next month. This will be the first time inflight connectivity has been used on New Zealand domestic routes.
The aircraft will be fitted with OnAir’s communication system, and the network provider will be Vodafone. Air NZ is due to take delivery of 14 new A320s through 2016, replacing the carrier’s-300s on domestic routes.
Inflight connectivity will also be offered on the second A320 delivery, an Air NZ spokeswoman says. “We will then evaluate demand for the service before making a decision on the rest of the fleet,” she says. The carrier will not retrofit its 737s.
Air NZ has opted to allow passengers to use voice as well as texts and data on equipped A320s, in contrast to some other airlines that have not included voice calling in their connectivity offerings. The Air NZ spokeswoman notes that the carrier’s domestic flights are typically short, with an average duration of only one hour.
The airline announced last May that its new-300ERs would be equipped for inflight connectivity on international flights. Unlike the A320s, the 777 service will use Aeromobile. The international service will be for text and emails, but not voice.
Vodafone is offering rates of NZ$3.50 ($2.70) per minute to make a call, NZ$2 per minute to receive a call, NZ$0.80 per outbound text, and NZ$20 per megabyte of data used.