Virgin Australia posts $3.7m loss, tips stronger first quarter


The news comes following a three month trial of WiFi internet on two 737 aircraft.

The airline is in the process of rolling out inflight wireless Internet access to its Boeing 737 fleet, and the company said today that it expects to expand the rollout to encompass its Boeing 777 aircraft, beginning in October.

The Airbus A330s will also have to take their turn in the queue, with these jets not kitted out until the second half of 2019.

The service was used by 49 percent of guests to log in to their emails, while 43 percent checked their social media accounts.

Chief executive John Borghetti said trading conditions in the domestic market remained subdued but the airline's global business, which is now focused on Asian and North American markets, had returned to profitability.

"We've chosen to partner with leading inflight connectivity provider Gogo, who deliver inflight wi-fi to airlines around the world including Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways". The Gogo 2Ku system employs dual antennas for simultaneous upstream and downstream connections.

More news: Swipe to launch 10 devices this year
More news: Nadal eyes number one in Montreal
More news: Trump 'Reckless' North Korea Remarks Undermine US Security - Congressman Engel

"Therefore we're pleased to announce our rollout plans for inflight wi-fi today, which will see more than 90 per cent of Virgin Australia's fleet fitted with this technology".

Qantas flicked the switch on inflight internet wi-fi in April. Virgin Australia has superior premium grade product on its Hong Kong and Los Angeles flights in the opinion of some, including this writer, and a highly credible domestic offering, but on the worldwide routes, in its own metal, remains an nearly bespoke or niche player.

"Through our partnership with Gogo and Optus Satellite, we will have access to the largest fleet of satellites servicing Australia and New Zealand, providing our guests with a fast and reliable Wi-Fi experience on board", the CEO said.

Virgin said its three-month trial, which commenced in April, had found 77 percent of guests reported a "high level of satisfaction" with its in-flight Wi-Fi service.

That means once complete (by the end of 2018) passengers on Virgin Australia to the US will have access to the internet on a pay per use basis using the Gogo Satellite WiFi connection.

Virgin Australia made an underlying pre-tax loss of $3.7 million in the year to June 30, down from the previous year's $41 million profit, due to a fall in earnings in its domestic business and the cost of changes to its fleet of aircraft.