Due to the certification delay, the Latvian airline airBaltic postponed the launch of SpaceX’s Starlink internet on the planes to 2024.
Initially, the carrier planned to install Starlink equipment on the first aircraft in 2023 after achieving the required STC (supplemental type certification) approval.
“airBaltic is in regular communication with SpaceX and Airbus on the required supplemental type certification for equipping the airline’s fleet of Airbus A220-300s with Starlink in-flight internet connectivity. Currently, the airline expects to begin installing the product in 2024”, airBaltic’s press service told avianews.com.
airBaltic would like to install Starlink on the entire fleet. The carrier declares that internet access on the plane will be free for the passengers without hassles or login pages.
SpaceX has launched Starlink for aircraft in 2022. With satellites positioned in low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 550 km, over 65 times closer than conventional geostationary satellites, the Starlink internet speed during the flight could be up to 350 Mbps with latency as low as 20 ms.
These internet characteristics allow passengers to be engaged in activities previously not functional in flight. They include online gaming, virtual private networks, and other high-data-rate activities.
It is expected that airBaltic will be the first European airline to launch Starlink internet on the planes.