Hawaiian Airlines announced on April 25 that starting next year, it will provide complimentary Starlink services on the transpacific voyages to and from Hawaii, making it the first major airline to do so.
Hawaiian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Peter Ingram stated in a statement, “When we launch with Starlink, we are going to have the best connectivity experience possible in the air.”
Although SpaceX has claimed that its fast-developing low Earth orbit (LEO) network can deliver inflight Wi-Fi that is indiscernible from traditional internet access, the firms have not disclosed broadband speeds for the prospective service.
When flying over the oceans, numerous major airlines currently provide in-flight Wi-Fi and link to satellites in GEO (geostationary orbit).
According to Jonathan Hofeller, who works as the vice president in charge of the Starlink commercial sales at SpaceX, the company’s arrangement with Hawaiian Airlines eliminates “hassles like downloading movies before the flight.”
Passengers on Hawaiian Airlines flights do not have access to the internet at this time.
“We waited until technology came up to our high standards for visitor experience,” Ingram added, “but it will be well worth the wait.”
As SpaceX continues to certify aviation terminal it has created, the firms expect to begin installing Starlink technology on A321neo aircraft and Airbus A330, as well as the Hawaiian company’s forthcoming fleet of Boeing 787-9s, next year.
Hawaiian Airlines announced that Starlink will be available onboard trips between the Hawaiian Islands and continental Asia, the U.S., and Oceania.
The service will not be available on the airline’s Boeing 717 aircraft, which is used for short trips between the islands.
Daily nonstop flights are available between Hawaii and 16 U.S. cities, as well as services between Honolulu and American Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Tahiti.
Hawaiian Airlines possess 24 Airbus A330-200s as well as 18 Airbus A321s in its fleet at the end of 2021.
In 2008, the airline announced that it had placed an order for ten Boeing 787-9s to serve as its new flagship aircraft for medium- to long-haul flights. The jets were supposed to be delivered in 2021, according to Boeing.
However, because to supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, Hawaiian Airlines announced in its latest financial quarterly statement that it now anticipates getting the first-ever 787s in 2023.
The Honolulu-based airline’s Starlink news comes only days after JSX, which is a private jet charter firm, announced on April 21 that it had secured an agreement with Starlink, putting it on track to be the first airline to offer the service this year.
The majority of the routes operated by the Dallas-based charter servicer are in the southwest of the US.
Passengers will be able to use Starlink broadband at no additional cost, according to JSX.
Delta Airlines, like many other major airlines, charges passengers for in-flight connectivity, and has conducted exploratory Starlink testing on its planes.
Starlink’s impending foray into inflight connectivity services puts even more pressure on competitors in a market which is already saturated and ripe for consolidation as operators deal with expensive antenna installation costs.
Since JSX announced its Starlink intentions, shares of incumbent satellite inflight connectivity companies Gogo and Viasat have been dropping.