Your next flight to Hawaii might come with speedy in-flight internet access. CNBCreports Hawaiian Airlines has signed a deal to offer SpaceX’s Starlink service aboard all its Transpacific flights. Fly aboard an Airbus A321neo, Airbus 330 or Boeing 787-9 and you’ll have free, relatively low-latency WiFi that should be quick enough to stream media and play online games.
Hawaiian will start deploying Starlink broadband with “select” aircraft in 2023. There aren’t any plans to add satellite access to the Boeing 717 airliners that provide short-hop flights between Hawaii’s islands.
The agreement makes Hawaiian the first major airline to use Starlink. SpaceX signed its first airline deal earlier this month with charter carrier JSX, which operates shorter, smaller-capacity flights. Delta has conducted Starlink tests, but it’s not clear if or when the company might adopt the technology.
The Hawaiian Airlines arrangement won’t necessarily guarantee more in-flight business for SpaceX. Some major airlines already offer satellite internet service to passengers, and might not be in a rush to replace equipment that sometimes took years to install. The new deal gives SpaceX a significant foothold, however, and it won’t be surprising if more airlines try Starlink before long.
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