SpaceX’s Starlink will be available on most aircraft soon, said Elon Musk. The technology will be available for use by any operator if it is ordered.
Some operators provide an internet connection during airplane flights. However, if you try to use it, you will most likely encounter a problem. The problem with most in-flight internet offerings is speed and connectivity. Airplanes connected to the antenna receive signals from communications towers on the ground as they fly overhead. This limits the availability of internet: it becomes unstable, difficult to connect to, and the actual speed reaches no more than about 10 Mbps. That is why satellite internet can offer a number of benefits, and SpaceX’s Starlink will soon do just that.
Currently, Starlink has a constellation of about 5,000 satellites in low Earth orbit and plans to increase this to 42,000 in the future. This is significantly more than all other companies combined. For example, Viasat, which provides in-flight internet service to JetBlue, United Airlines, and American Airlines, operates a fleet of four satellites, according to The Street.
SpaceX launched Starlink Aviation in the fall of 2022. This service has been specifically designed for use on aircraft. Currently, Starlink Aviation is available on two Gulfstream models. According to SpaceX, other popular aircraft, including the Airbus A320 and A330, as well as several Boeing aircraft, will not be compatible with Starlink Aviation until “2024 and beyond.”
However, Elon Musk’s recent post on X gave hope that this could change soon. It is likely that Starlink internet will become a regular feature on commercial airlines if the service is commissioned by an operator.
“Starlink will be available on most aircraft soon, depending on whether the airline orders it,” he wrote.
Starlink will be available on most aircraft soon, depending on whether the airline orders it
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 10, 2023
Starlink Aviation will cost airlines $25,000 per month, according to SpaceX’s website. In addition, they will have to purchase equipment for $150,000. In return, Starlink Aviation offers download speeds of 40–220 Mbps, which will be sufficient for passengers and on-board crew to comfortably use the internet. Last year, Hawaiian Airlines became the first major airline to agree to use Starlink on its Airbus A330 and A321neo aircraft.