SpaceX launches Starlink Aviation • The Register in-flight Wi-Fi service

SpaceX’s inflight internet service for airplanes now has a name – Starlink Aviation.

Hawaiian Airlines announced earlier this year that it will become the first major airline to provide passengers with free WiFi over the Starlink broadband satellite network.

Back then, however, the airline-focused part of the business lacked specific branding. SpaceX announced the official launch of the service this morning via Twitter along with a website explaining the service.

The company says Starlink will be able to provide up to 350Mbps broadband to aircraft equipped with its specially designed, low-profile Aero Terminal, which features an electronically steered phased array antenna to provide “a to enable new levels of reliability, redundancy and performance”.

That means passengers can make video calls, play online games, use VPNs and other bandwidth-hogging activities “with latency as low as 20ms,” they say.

According to SpaceX, the Aero Terminal is easy to install and can be performed during other routine maintenance checks. Purchasing airlines receive a power adapter, two wireless access points, and wiring harnesses with the terminal.

The reason Hawaiian Airlines tapped SpaceX for onboard internet was that it was difficult to provide reliable Wi-Fi over the Pacific Ocean. “We’ve waited for technology to catch up with our high standards of guest experience, but it will be worth the wait,” CEO Peter Ingram said at the time. “Our guests can look forward to fast, seamless, and complimentary WiFi that complements our award-winning Hawaiian hospitality onboard.”

“As the world’s largest constellation of satellites with coverage across land, oceans and polar regions, Starlink is positioned to connect passengers wherever their flight paths evolve,” says SpaceX.

The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed in April, but now we have a better idea of ​​what it will cost interested airlines — and it’s a little more expensive than regular consumer Starlink.

The hardware kit is priced at $150,000 and the internet subscription ranges from $12,500 to $25,000 per month depending on the airline’s needs. The product is available for reservation and pre-order for $5,000, with service beginning in mid-2023.

The new service will also share its name with Canadian private jet charter company Starlink Aviation, which says on its website that it guarantees “privacy and discretion” to its undoubtedly well-heeled customers. We asked the company about this, and they said, “We have been made aware of SpaceX’s decision and are currently evaluating whether it actually infringes our trademark.” ® SpaceX launches Starlink Aviation • The Register in-flight Wi-Fi service

Rick Schindler

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