Air New Zealand is one step closer to its goal of launching inflight WiFi with the arrival of Boeing 777-300ER ZK-OKS (MSN 44547) back to New Zealand from Singapore later this week after a month long refit. This aircraft is the first in their fleet to be fitted with on-board WiFi.

The aircraft is the latest of its Boeing 777-300ER fleet to undergo a refit in Singapore that also includes new seating throughout the plane, an upgrade from Panasonic's eX2 to eX3 Inflight Entertainment system (IFE), and the removal of the Premium Economy Spaceseat.

Air New Zealand have opted for Inmarsat's Global Xpress Ka band solution integrated with Panasonic's IFE as its on-board WiFi and entertainment solution.

Air New Zealand announced plans for on-board WiFi in October 2016 and expected to have a new Airbus A321neo arrive in mid 2017 to act as a test aircraft. Delays with the Airbus A321neo have meant it will now not be introduced into their fleet until 2018.

WiFi connectivity will ultimately be provided across their entire jet fleet of Boeing 777-200ER, Boeing 777-300ER and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft for long-haul flights, and both Airbus A320 and Airbus A321neo aircraft for domestic and short haul international services.

Ground trials of the WiFi service are due to take place soon, however there is no word yet on when the service will be live for paying passengers, not has pricing for the service been announced.

Update: Air NZ Inflight Wi-Fi Review