Latvian airline airBaltic is to equip its entire Airbus A220-300 fleet with SpaceX’s Starlink internet connectivity system.
Developed by SpaceX, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet in over 40 countries and counting around the world and began serving commercial aircraft last year with in-flight high-speed internet. With satellites positioned in low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 550 km, over 65 times closer than conventional geostationary satellites, Starlink achieves significantly lower latency and higher transmission speeds for its end users. Starlink can deliver up to 350 Mbps to aircraft, and with latency as low as 20 ms, passengers can engage in activities previously not functional in flight, including online gaming, virtual private networks, and other high data rate activities.
Martin Gauss, chief executive of airBaltic: “This marks a historic moment for our airline and the industry as a whole. Soon airBalticwill 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.”
“We are glad to have found the right connectivity provider – SpaceX’s Starlink – that fits our needs and meets our wishes. Having the most modern aircraft type on the market, it was the next logical step for airBaltic to implement the most modern available inflight internet solution on this fleet,” Martin Gauss added.
“By becoming the first European airline to implement Starlink fleetwide, airBaltic is setting a new standard in ensuring its passengers have an internet experience that they have come to expect in our modern age,” said SpaceX vice president of Starlink sales Jonathan Hofeller. “With Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency internet, airBaltic passengers will have internet similar to or better than what they experience at home. Customers will walk on the plane and the internet will simply work, making the stress of login pages and downloading large files before takeoff a thing of the past.”
airBaltic will work with SpaceX to achieve the required STC (supplemental type certification) approval and is expected to begin installing the product on the entire airBaltic Airbus A220-300 fleet this year.