MIAMI — Qantas has begun making the transition to new and improved inflight entertainment programming that it says will give passengers more choice and variety. Travelers will also get more regular and in-depth news coverage through a new partnership between the Australian flag carrier and Sky News, Foxtel and Fox Sports.

In April, Qantas launched a review of its inflight content, including news, entertainment and advertising, said spokeswoman Sarah Algar.  “A tender asked for responses on how to deliver better content to customers inflight and better leverage newer technology, including devices like iPads,” she said.

The tender itself was part of a broader shakeup of the entertainment options Qantas offers customers that will culminate in a series of improvements during fiscal year 2015, said Algar. “This dovetails with ongoing fleet renewal and cabin refreshes across both the domestic and international fleets, including new cabins and IFE systems for the A330 and other yet-to-be-announced improvements in other fleets,” she said. The cutover date is expected to be November 1, she added.

141021: Publicity shoot for Foxtel/Qantas. (Credits: Belinda Pratten)
141021: Publicity shoot for Foxtel/Qantas. (Credits: Belinda Pratten)

Under the new programming, Sky News will supply more breaking news with multiple news bulletins provided throughout the day on international and domestic flights, 365 days a year, said Algar. “Sky News will also provide its new international Australian news service live to Qantas’ network of lounges overseas. Customers travelling back home will be able to watch the latest news, sport and business updates from Australia,” she said. “Qantas will also have access to Foxtels’ library of premium lifestyle, drama, food and entertainment programming plus Fox Sports coverage, which will drive a significant increase in the viewing choices on-board.”

As part of other improvements, Qantas customers will notice a significant increase in the amount of content offered on board from early August, including almost doubling the number of new-release blockbusters and more virtual box sets of popular TV series, said Algar. “The 100 hours of additional content will be available on most Qantas international and domestic flights, including 77 hours more movie content, 20 hours more TV content and almost doubling the new of new Hollywood releases from six to 10 per month.” Content is reviewed and refreshed on a monthly basis, she added.