qantas tarmac
Groundstaff work on the tarmac next to Qantas Airways planes parked at Sydney's Domestic Airport terminal in Australia, November 8, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

Qantas has postponed its in-flight wi-fi launch due to technical issues. The Australian airline company has also decided to postpone the media event that would announce the rollout.

A Qantas spokesperson said that the company has been preparing to open up the service to media and customers. However, some stability issues have emerged that the company decided to fix it before customers could use it. The spokesperson said that the company was working with National Broadband Network (NBN) and ViaSat to resolve the stability issues but there were no other details revealed. The spokesperson added that they remain on track for a broader roll out to the Qantas Domestic fleet scheduled from mid-2017.

The airline company announced in February 2016 that it would equip Boeing 737-800s and Airbus A330s domestic fleet with wi-fi. The connectivity would be provided by nbn and ViaSat's global satellite network. The service would be free of charge and the passengers would be able to stream television programs from Foxtel for free. Stan, Spotify and Netflix would also join the in-flight service.

Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO, said that the satellites would deliver internet speeds 10 times faster than the conventional on-board wi-fi. The company's head of customer experience Phil Capps said that putting wi-fi on board the aircraft has been extraordinary task for the team. He said that the team made sure safety of the installation met the stringent standards of the company.

Ten engineers installed the satellite antenna on top of the aircraft and they also installed multiple wireless access points. A total of 900 man hours were performed during the installation.

In February, NBN chief Bill Morrow admitted that an exorbitant level of errors was seen to the satellite connection. Since its launching into space in late 2015, the Sky Muster has encountered issues including slow service. Customers have also experienced not being able to connect to the service at all.

Australian airline company, Qantas, is the first of the three largest airlines in Oceania that would offer internet over wi-fi in 2017. Air New Zealand has made an announcement in October that its international and domestic jet fleet would utilise the Inmarsat new global GX satellite constellation for its progressively equipped wi-fi. The trials would be scheduled in the second half of 2017. By mid-2017, Virgin Australia would offer connectivity for its 737, 777-300ER and A330 fleet. Pricing model, potentials partners and technology needed for the project have not yet been announced.