Aircraft from JSX will already have fast WLAN from October thanks to Starlink. As part of the Future Travel Experience Global, SpaceX presented the WLAN in the aircraft, which is already expected to be launched shortly.
Starlink with satellite Internet on the plane
SpaceX’s Starlink satellite Internet is nearing operational readiness. It was only in August that Elon Musk, together with T-Mobile, announced the satellite network for 5G smartphones. Now the satellites are also realizing fast Wi-Fi on airplanes.
Planes from JSX Air and Hawaiian Airlines served as the base for the roughly hour-long test flight, which departed last week from Burbank to San Jose in the United States. As news website Bloomberg reports, there were only 12 passengers on board, but many devices simulated a load equivalent to that of 20-30 people.
Thanks to fast 100 Mbps Wi-Fi, passengers were easily able to stream content via Netflix or YouTube, use WhatsApp video chats or surf the web during the flight.
Launch targeted in October
Starlink in-flight Internet is scheduled to launch on planes operated by airline JSX as early as October. JSX mainly offers short-haul flights within the United States. The airline Hawaiin Airlines also plans to rely on Starlink for Internet coverage in the future.
The satellite Internet from Elon Musk’s company is a direct competitor to previous providers such as Intelsat and Viasat Inc. which already supply thousands of aircraft with fast Internet. Jeff Sare, president of commercial aviation at Intelsat, sees Starlink as a serious competitor, but is confident: “We don’t think there’s anyone who can beat us,” Sare told Bloomberg.
By the end of 2022, WLAN via Starlink is to be offered on all of JSX’s aircraft. It will be exciting to see whether the comparatively small satellites can realize enough capacity for such a high network utilization in a small space.
It remains to be seen whether sufficient coverage of regions with high traffic volumes, such as the Atlanta airport, can be achieved at all. However, SpaceX states that it often underestimates how quickly the system will develop.