There’s been talk of Starlink (the satellite-based communication network from SpaceX) being used by commercial aircraft on and off. Well, it seems Hawaiian Airlines will be one of the launch carriers to utilise the technology.
Starlink – now coming to the air with Hawaiian Airlines – Image, Hawaiian Airlines.
The service will be provided free at the point of use to passengers aboard Hawaiian Airlines aircraft, with planned coverage from the Hawaiian islands to the continental U.S, Asia and Oceania.
In terms of deployment, the airline will have the equipment fitted to existing Airbus A330 and A321neo aircraft. The equipment will also be deployed on the airline’s new fleet of Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
The Starlink hardware will not be fitted to the inter-island Boeing 717 fleet the airline operates.
Starlink is also being deployed with launch carrier JSX.
For those of you who are used to signing up to a portal and punching in your credit card number (or Paypal details), Hawaiian has a different solution. They propose that connecting to the internet will be seamless when guests walk onboard the aircraft, without registration pages or payment portals.
You will be able to stream content, play games live work and collaborate in real-time and of course connect to social media.
Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram said:
“When we launch with Starlink we will have the best connectivity experience available in the air,”
“We waited until technology caught up with our high standards for guest experience, but it will be worth the wait. Our guests can look forward to fast, seamless and free Wi-Fi to complement our award-winning onboard Hawaiian hospitality.”
SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales Jonathan Hofeller added:
“Hawaiian Airlines is ensuring its passengers will experience high-speed internet the way we expect it in the 21st century, making hassles like downloading movies before takeoff a relic of the past,”
“With Starlink, the inflight experience is greatly simplified so that once passengers step onboard the plane the internet works seamlessly throughout their flight. Soon, passengers will enjoy all the benefits of having the world’s best inflight internet connectivity from the comfort of their seats.”
Coming next year
For those of you to use Starlink in the sky, you’re going to need to wait a bit. As with any new equipment, it will need to pass certification and testing phases, before entry into service.
Hawaiian and Starlink are in the initial stages of implementation and expect to begin installing the product on select aircraft next year.
The next Starlink step
There have been plenty of Starlink demonstrations as the product has been in deep beta for some time, with terminals on the ground being the most popular way of using it – both in peace and in conflict areas.
Taking Starlink to the air is the obvious next step, with it stepping on Viasat, Intelsat, Panasonic and Inmarsat’s toes in the process.
The zero-cost model has a few questions – connectivity isn’t a cheap thing, to say the least, to provision or maintain.
When something is provided free online, nine out of ten times, you are the product, rather than what you consume.
It’s going to be interesting which of the big airlines will consider Starlink as part of its connectivity solution for both passengers and crew.
Editors note – This was on the list for publication on Monday, however, Elon decided that other things were going to dominate the news cycle that day. I’ve left it to the weekend mainly as I’ve had a lot of other fish to fry this week.
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Starlink told me in 2020 that my Starlink service would arrive next year also. Working on 2 years now.
It’s always in beta. Like a lot of modern products…