SpaceX has revealed the official details of its Starlink satellite internet service for aviation, which promises up to 350 Mbps per plane. Delta CEO Ed Bastian admitted earlier this year that the airline conducted “exploratory tests” on its planes using Starlink’s internet technology. Around the same time, Hawaiian Airlines announced that it will begin deploying Starlink internet with “select” aircraft in 2023. Following the launch of Starlink for RVs, the Federal Communications Commission granted the company permission to provide satellite internet services to vehicles.
According to the company’s FAQ page, Starlink Aviation will be available worldwide as long as the plane equipped with its Aero Terminals has an unobstructed view of the sky. Because the service’s satellites travel in Low Earth Orbit, one or more are almost always visible overhead. According to SpaceX, this means passengers will have consistent internet access whether the plane is flying over land or water, and even while taxiing or landing.
If Starlink Aviation can live up to SpaceX’s promises, it will be much faster than other satellite options, which can only offer speeds of up to 100 Mbps per plane at most. According to the company, the service will allow passengers to do things they couldn’t do in-flight, such as make video calls, play online games, and use VPN.
The service will initially be available for a limited number of aircraft, but the company intends to expand support for additional aircraft in the future. SpaceX plans to begin shipping the Starlink Aviation Aero Terminal kits in 2023, so the first airlines to offer the service as an in-flight WiFi option will most likely announce it in the coming months.