Qatar Airways is now the largest airline to offer Starlink in-flight satellite internet to its passengers

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On Friday, the official airline of the Middle East’s State of Qatar (Qatar Airways) announced that it is integrating SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet into its airplanes. Both of the companies have already signed an agreement.

Qatar Airways is now the largest airline to offer Starlink’s high bandwidth low-latency internet to its guests on board. Passengers will be able to enjoy Wi-Fi speeds of up to 350 Mbps (Megabits per second) during the flight.

Since this internet service is provided through a constellation of thousands of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO), therefore, connectivity across the globe and at high altitudes is readily available.

Qatar Airways published a press release on Friday to announce the Starlink integration, the announcement stated:

Qatar Airways is now the largest airline to collaborate with Starlink and in the future, will roll out a complimentary high-speed, low-latency internet connectivity experience onboard specific aircraft and routes. Starlink’s service will be a further enhancement of Qatar Airways’ 5-star onboard experience. Once the service is active, passengers will be able to enjoy ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up to 350 Megabits per second which can be used for a variety of internet-based services such as video streaming their favourite entertainment and sports videos, gaming, enriched web-browsing and much more.

Qatar Airways (complete press release PDF below)
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A Starlink Aviation satellite internet receiver for airplanes (design may differ from airframe to airframe / jet's model).
A Starlink Aviation satellite internet receiver for airplanes (design may differ from airframe to airframe / jet’s model). Credit: Courtesy of SpaceX Starlink.

Airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines, airBaltic, JSX, and ZipAir Tokyo are already using the Starlink broadband internet service. However, Qatar Airways is the top client SpaceX‘s Starlink Aviation has won to date.

Starlink for aviation comes under the company’s business segment. Business customers get customized solutions by SpaceX to provide them with global access to Starlink’s high bandwidth internet.

A regular Starlink dish receiver cannot be attached to an airplane for obvious reasons. SpaceX designs customized receivers and related hardware for the aviation industry. SpaceX charges $25,000 per month for in-flight high-speed Starlink internet and it costs $150,000 for hardware installation for a single aircraft.

According to the Starlink website, receivers are currently only available for Gulfstream G650 & G650ER jets (Elon Musk‘s private jet is also a Gulfstream G650ER).

Starlink estimates that the development of receivers and relevant certifications for Gulfstream GIV, GV, G450 (GIV-X), and G550 (GV-SP) airframes will be completed in Q4 2023.

The following table lists the airframes and related Starlink Aviation availability timelines:

Manufacturer + Airframe(STC) Supplemental Type Certificate Timeline
Airbus A321NeoQ4 2023
Airbus A2202024
Airbus A3202024 & Beyond
Airbus A3302024 & Beyond
ATR 72-500, 72-6002024 & Beyond
Beechcraft Super King Air 200/300Q1 2024
Boeing 7372024 & Beyond
Boeing 7572024 & Beyond
Boeing 7872024 & Beyond
Boeing 7772024 & Beyond
Bombardier Challenger 300/3502024 & Beyond
Bombardier Challenger 600, 601, 604, 605, 6502024 & Beyond
Bombardier Global 5000Q1 2024
Bombardier Global 5500Q1 2024
Bombardier Global 6000Q1 2024
Bombardier Global 6500Q1 2024
Bombardier Global 7500Q1 2024
Bombardier Global ExpressQ4 2023
Bombardier Global Express XRSQ4 2023
Dassault Falcon 20002024 & Beyond
De Havilland Canada Dash Q400 (8-400), Q300 (8-300)2024 & Beyond
Embraer ERJ-135Available
Embraer ERJ-145Available
Embraer Legacy2024 & Beyond
Embraer Phenom 3002024 & Beyond
Embraer Praetor2024 & Beyond
Gulfstream G450Q4 2023
Gulfstream G550Q4 2023
Gulfstream G650Available
Gulfstream G650ERAvailable
Gulfstream GIV2024
Gulfstream GV2024
All Other2024 & Beyond
Table 1: Starlink availability timelines for popular jets. Data source: Starlink support website.
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Qatar Airways currently owns 229 jets and the fleet is comprised of large Airbus and Boeing aircraft (refer to Table 2 below).

As we can see in Table 1 above, SpaceX is currently developing Starlink receivers for these airplanes and availability is pending in 2024 and beyond.

AircraftCountSeating capacity
Airbus A320-20029132
144
Airbus A330-2005260
Airbus A330-3008305
Airbus A350-90034283
Airbus A350-100024327
395
Airbus A38010517
Boeing 737-8 MAX9176
Boeing 787-830254
Boeing 787-914311
Boeing 777-200LR9276
272
Boeing 777-300ER57354358412
Table 2: Qatar Airways fleet aircraft, their count, and seating capacity. Data source: Qatar Airways website.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways is proud to announce its agreement with Starlink to provide seamless and complimentary Wi-Fi to its global passengers. This exciting collaboration is not only in line with our industry-leading approach to technological adoption, but also serves as an unmissable opportunity to connect Starlink to our global passengers. We look forward to our passengers benefitting from this state-of-the-art addition to Qatar Airways’ in-flight experience.”

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An Embraer ERJ-135 JSX Jet (@fljsx) with Starlink high-speed internet integrated.
An Embraer ERJ-135 JSX Jet (@fljsx) with Starlink high-speed internet integrated. Credit: SpaceX.
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Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar Alihttp://www.teslaoracle.com
Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii

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