On Monday, Elon Musk’s SpaceX signed a deal with Hawaiian Airlines Inc. to provide in-flight wireless internet on its trans-Pacific fleet. The airlines said that it would provide the web service on Airbus A330 as well as A321 neo aircraft. Its incoming Boeing aircrafts of series 787-9 would also provide internet connectivity through Starlink’s satellites.
The service will be provided for flights between the Hawaiian islands and continental U.S.A., as well as Asia and Oceania. Hawaiian Airlines added that the service will not be available on its Boeing 717 aircraft which has flights between various islands in the state, as of now.
Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram said in a press release that they would “have the best connectivity experience in the air” after they would launch with Starlink.
Jonathan Hofeller, who is SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales, said that Hawaiian Airlines was ensuring that it was relegating the hassle downloads of movie before takeoff, as “a relic of the past” as it was adopting the benefits of Starlink’s inflight interconnectivity, to stream content, work, play games or pursue other online activities in real-time, according to a press release.
SpaceX’s Starlink has been in talks with various airlines to provide wifi services on board aircrafts. Hawaiian Airlines is the first major national carrier to ink a deal with the company. The deal is set to commence in 2023. Although the carrier said that it would provide it as a free service for its passengers, it has not mentioned the cost to the airlines and nor has SpaceX, according to a report in CNBC.
Although Starlink began as a service that would link rural communities and desolate regions in the nation and around the world with internet services, it has been looking to expand its operations as it expands its services, including talks with several airlines. Most of the major airlines already provide WiFi services for Business travel while JetBlu provides free wifi for all its passengers in the U.S.