On a few aircraft, passengers will now have free access to high-speed inflight WiFi thanks to a partnership between Qatar Airways and SpaceX’s Starlink. The largest airline to use Starlink’s connectivity technology is the national carrier of Qatar. As of right now, neither Qatar Airways nor the routes or planes on which Starlink will be offered have provided any launch dates.
Qatar Airways With Starlink Offers Free High-Speed Inflight Wifi
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Qatar Airways will use Starlink’s inflight connectivity service on “specific aircraft and routes,” providing customers in all cabin classes with free, high-speed WiFi that can reach 350Mbps. To keep passengers connected while flying, these speeds are more than capable of handling demanding downloads like streaming video or gaming.
Qatar stated that using the onboard WiFi would be “simple one-click access,” which should eliminate the need for time-consuming sign-up procedures. Starlink’s outstanding download speeds of up to 350 Mbps are much faster than the present technology in Qatar’s widebody fleet, which includes aircraft equipped with SITA’s OnAir and Inmarsat’s GX satellite internet.
Hawaiian Airlines just postponed its own rollout until early 2024, so it might be some time before we see Starlink aboard Qatar’s aircraft. Hawaiian Airlines was the first significant airline to sign up for Starlink back in April 2022. (As per Simple Flying)
Many Other Airlines Are Adopting This Technology
Starlink’s laser mesh network allows us to provide truly global coverage and serve those in the most remote locations on Earth, including maritime and aviation customers
— Starlink (@Starlink) September 26, 2023
Jonathan Hofeller, vice president of Starlink Commercial Sales at SpaceX, stated that Starlink would eventually support the full fleet of Qatar Airways, raising the possibility that the airline might choose to use SpaceX as its only connectivity provider or deploy WiFi throughout its narrowbody fleet.
The number of Starlink partners continues to rise with the addition of Qatar Airways; however, no major carriers have Starlink operational as of yet; Hawaiian Airlines hopes to do so in the first quarter of 2024.
With prior testing indicating speeds of up to 100 Mbps in flight, charter carrier JSX became the first airline to equip its complete active fleet of 40 Embraer ERJs with Starlink in March.
While Delta Air Lines has previously run its own tests of the technology, AirBaltic and ZIPAIR are currently adopting Starlink. (As per Simple Flying)
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