SpaceX has added its first European airline as a customer as airBaltic announced today plans to add Starlink satellite internet service to their fleet of aircraft.
In a press release this morning the Latvian airline said it will outfit its entire fleet of 34 Airbus A220-300 aircraft with Starlink. According to the airline they will be working with SpaceX to obtain to the required STC (supplemental type certification) approval and that it hopes to start adding Starlink equipment and launch the service this year, although it did not detail how long it will take to equip all 38 of the Airbus planes with Starlink equipment.
airBaltic says the inflight Starlink WiFi will be free for all passengers and will work as soon as they board their plane, without the need for login pages.
“This marks a historic moment for our airline and the industry as a whole. Soon airBaltic will become the first airline in Europe to launch high-speed, unlimited, and free-of-charge satellite internet on board. We are excited to further improve our service to our passengers who will soon benefit from this internet connectivity onboard our flights within the airBaltic network in Europe and beyond,” said Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic.
airBaltic is the first European airline to sign on as a Starlink customer, but not the first airline. JSX, a semi-private airline, has already launched Starlink service on their flights in the US, and Hawaiian Airlines plans to launch their Starlink service in the coming months.
Since launching to regular consumers in 2020, Starlink has expanded its service offerings and now has Starlink plans for aircraft and boats with Starlink Aviation and Starlink Maritime. A number of cruise lines have signed up for Starlink, with American Cruise Lines the latest to announce the free WiFi service for their passengers.