Vietnam Airlines has announced that it will rollout WiFi on some of its Airbus A350 aircraft from October 10. Four of its airliners have been earmarked to receive this technology initially, while more of its A350 aircraft will benefit from WiFi in the coming months, as well as a few of its Boeing 787 jets.
Deputy General Director of Vietnam Airlines, Le Hong Ha, asserted in a press release that the new service would be beneficial for customers of the carrier.
“[We are] looking forward to becoming a digital airline. Vietnam Airlines always strives to pioneer in the application of information technology to bring convenient flights for its customers. With the first in-flight WiFi service available in Vietnam, we hope to bring passengers a new and convenient experience when using the Internet during the flight,” Le Hong commented.
The process of offering WiFi in flights has been a lengthy one for Vietnam Airlines, with the carrier planning this rollout for at least five years. Throughout this process, the Vietnamese airline struggled to obtain the permission required from the authorities in order to deliver WiFi.
But it announced in August that it would finally begin rolling out WiFi either on a national holiday on September 2, or on the Vietnamese capital city Hanoi’s liberation day, which is October 10. Ultimately, the latter of these two days has been chosen.
WiFi connectivity aboard Vietnam Airlines will be delivered in partnership with Inmarsat. The carrier had intended to launch Wi-Fi with this partner by the end of 2015, but the process has been continually delayed by bureaucracy. This has meant that the aircraft set aside for Wi-Fi connectivity have only been used for in-flight entertainment streaming as of yet.
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However, according to Paxex.aero, the WiFi offered by Vietnamese Airlines will be insufficient to deliver streaming, due to the underlying connection being inadequate. The carrier will also cap usage fairly stringently, with the rollout being based on an L-Band service that is more rudimentary than the Inmarsat GX service that was expected.
Routes from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi to Shanghai, Hanoi to Osaka and Ho Chi Minh City to Osaka as well as Singapore are expected to benefit from WiFi connectivity in the early days of its rollout. The currently equipped A350s are numbered VN-A886 to VN-A889, but the rollout will also be extended to further A350 aircraft, as well as some Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Vietnam Airlines has also advised passengers that Wi-Fi connectivity could be somewhat unpredictable during the early period of its provision. Customers of the carrier have been advised that they will be told during check-in whether their particular flight is indeed connected. Identification panels will be fitted on aircraft in order to further identify this, while instructions on connecting will also be included onboard.
The carrier recently retired in its final Airbus A330, as the airline looked to create a sleek and modern fleet consisting of Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A350 aircraft. Vietnam Airlines has also been expanding to southeast Asia in recent months, operating new routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Phuket, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia. There have also been reports that the carrier could announce flights to the United States imminently.