There’s no better place to officially launch a product for the business aviation community than at the NBAA conference. And while it is not an exhibitor at the event running in Orlando this week, the SpaceX Starlink platform is happy to grab some attention from the gathered crowds as it officially launches its Starlink Aviation order portal. Customers can sign up today, with hardware deliveries expected to begin next year.
Starlink is promising up to 350 Mbps to each aircraft and latency as low as 20 ms. Those numbers exceed what JSX reported getting on its first installed aircraft.
The company is also promising global coverage, with connectivity “available in-flight over land and water and on the ground during taxi, takeoff, and landing.” Delivering the fully global coverage footprint depends on the inter-satellite links (ISLs) being active throughout the constellation. SpaceX has been launching satellites with the ISL hardware on board for several months now, and will continue to do so leading up to the activation of the service for customers.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the offering, however, is just how little Starlink appears to be actively involved in the process.
Customers will order the system via a website. Hardware will ship – the full install kit runs $150,000 – and a monthly contract for bandwidth ($12,500-25,000) will be billed to a credit card. Beyond that, aircraft owners are mostly on their own.
Read more: Starlink Scuttlebutt: Skepticism and Support
Installation of the low-profile antenna and in-cabin hardware is handled separately, though Starlink will recommend a provider if an aircraft owner does not have one qualified to perform the work. There are also no contracts associated with the service. Customers can cancel within 90 days and receive a refund for the hardware. After that trial window a cancellation simply stops the recurring bandwidth billing.
SpaceX has pitched the service as “just on” for commercial airlines and this would appear to be a similar configuration. It does not want to get involved with capture portals, on-board software, or any other facets of a connected inflight experience.
Some of these details were reported over the summer for PaxEx Premium subscribers; today’s announcement confirms those reports.
The initial target market for the service covers a range of generally larger business jets, including: ERJ-135, ERJ-145, G650, G550, Falcon 2000, G450, Challenger 300, Challenger 350, Global Express, Global 5000, Global 6000, and Global 7500. Starlink is also understood to be working towards STCs for larger commercial jets to support the Hawaiian Airlines partnership, though those are less relevant to the business aviation community.
One interesting twist in this news is the phrasing of the STC efforts for the E135/E145 family of aircraft. JSX is also planning to roll out the service for its passengers beginning this month. Speaking at the Future Travel Experience Global conference in Las Vegas last month, JSX CEO Alex Wilcox anticipated the Starlink service going live in October and being deployed fleet-wide before the end of the year. That would presume that the STCs are issued, however, not still pending. JSX has operated at least one test flight with reporters on board, and one of the fitted aircraft has occasionally operated flights over the past few weeks, suggesting testing is ongoing.
More news from NBAA 2022
- A make or break situation for SmartSky, Gogo in patent showdown
- Gogo completes 5G tower deployment
- Starlink Aviation opens up for BizAv orders
- Inmarsat announces Honeywell, Satcom Direct for SwiftJet distribution
- Next Gen JetWave antenna boasts boosted BizAv performance
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