January 11 2023  |  Connectivity & Satellites

airBaltic selects Starlink for fleet-wide inflight connectivity

By Alex Preston

airBaltic will begin installing SpaceX’s Starlink on its fleet of A220-300 aircraft this year

airBaltic plans to equip its entire Airbus A220-300 fleet with SpaceX’s Starlink internet connectivity system.

The airline 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.

Once operational, every airBaltic passenger will benefit from complimentary, in-flight high-speed internet access without the need for login pages.

“This marks a historic moment for our airline and the industry as a whole,” stated Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic in a January 10 press release. “Soon airBaltic will 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,” Gauss added.

Developed by SpaceX, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet. With satellites positioned in low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 550 km, over 65 times closer than conventional geostationary satellites, Starlink claims to achieves significantly lower latency and higher transmission speeds for its end users. According to SpaceX 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.

“With Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency internet, airBaltic passengers will have internet similar to or better than what they experience at home,” said SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Sales Jonathan Hofeller in the same release. “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.”

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