SpaceX still awaiting FAA approval to launch Starlink Wi-Fi on commercial airlines

SpaceX is looking to revolutionize the in-flight WiFi experience on commercial airlines with its Starlink satellite internet service. While the service is already being offered by JSX (to rave reviews), a small regional operator in the US, the company is still awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to bring Starlink to more commercial flights.

Since launching Starlink Aviation, and even before it, several airlines have said they will be adding the service to their fleets. Those announcements, like that from Hawaiian Airlines, came last year, with a pending timeline of 2023 for the service to launch. According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the company is still awaiting approval from the FAA and the airlines themselves, but in-flight Starlink Wi-Fi becoming available on commercial airlines later this year remains the goal.

Musk provided the timeline in response to a question posted on Twitter on Monday

Starlink’s constellation currently consists of over 3,000 satellites deployed in orbit, enabling high speed, low-latency internet connections. While in the air, the connection seamlessly transitions from one satellite to another, ensuring a consistent and reliable internet experience for passengers, much like what you experience at home.

However, there are a few hurdles to overcome before Starlink can become a reality on commercial flights. Apart from securing the aforementioned approval from the FAA, airlines will need to invest in replacing hardware and antennas on their aircraft, although this process is apparently quite simple and cost effective.

Starlink’s potential goes far beyond commercial airlines. SpaceX has already made headlines by offering Starlink internet on boats, expanding connectivity options for maritime travelers, and even expanding to rail service.

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