The Airbus A220-300 aircraft with airBaltic and SpaceX’s Starlink employees at the airline’s home base in Riga. Credits: airBaltic

airBaltic Successfully Tests SpaceX’s Starlink In-flight Connectivity

airBaltic successfully tested SpaceX's Starlink internet for in-flight connectivity on board a fully-filled Airbus A220-300

Latvian airline airBaltic has taken a significant step forward in enhancing in-flight connectivity with the successful initiation of tests for SpaceX’s Starlink internet system.

The ground test, which was conducted at airBaltic’s home base in Riga, hopes to mark the beginning of a transformative journey toward offering high-speed, unlimited, and complimentary internet access onboard the company’s flights.

The Airbus A220-300 aircraft with airBaltic and SpaceX’s Starlink employees at the airline’s home base in Riga. Credits: airBaltic
The Airbus A220-300 aircraft with airBaltic and SpaceX’s Starlink employees at the airline’s home base in Riga. Credits: airBaltic

The trial, conducted onboard the Airbus A220-300 aircraft, involved a full cabin comprising airBaltic and SpaceX’s Starlink employees, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of the connectivity system simulating a fully-booked flight.


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Everyone seems happy

Martin Gauss, President and CEO of airBaltic, expressed excitement about the potential of this partnership: “we are excited to lead the way in Europe by offering high-speed, unlimited, and complimentary inflight connectivity onboard our flights,” he said in a statement.

The collaboration between airBaltic and SpaceX underscores a shared commitment to enhancing passenger experience and leveraging cutting-edge technology. “We are grateful to our partners at SpaceX for their unwavering support throughout this transformative journey. Their shared ambition and dedication perfectly complement airBaltic’s values,” emphasized Gauss.

Jason Fritch, VP of Starlink Enterprise Sales, echoed similar sentiments: “as Starlink continues to activate high-speed, low-latency internet on aircraft around the world, we are excited to bring this next-generation experience to Europe with airBaltic’s A220 fleet.”


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Still pending certification…

The successful ground test sets the stage for airBaltic to pursue the required STC (supplemental type certification) approval for the installation of SpaceX’s Starlink inflight connectivity system on its Airbus A220-300 fleet.

The company’s plans is to do so by the end of the year, aiming to provide seamless, high-speed internet access to every passenger throughout their journey.

One of the passenger on board airBaltic's A220-300 testing the wifi connection. Credits: airBaltic
One of the passenger on board airBaltic’s A220-300 testing the wifi connection. Credits: airBaltic

SpaceX’s Starlink system operates with satellites positioned in low-Earth orbit, offering significant advantages over conventional geostationary satellites. With transmission speeds of up to 500 Mbps and latency as low as 20 ms, passengers can engage in a variety of online activities previously limited during flight, including gaming, streaming, and other high-data-rate applications.

The deployment of Starlink connectivity by airBaltic aligns with broader industry trends, as airlines recognize the potential of next-generation satellite technology to revolutionize inflight connectivity.

With successful trials and partnerships with leading airlines, including Air New Zealand and JSX, SpaceX’s Starlink is poised to play a significant role in shaping the future of inflight internet services. We spoke with some executives of those companies a few weeks ago, check out the article.

Dec. 15, 2023

Air New Zealand joins other airlines in adopting SpaceX’s Starlink for in-flight connectivity. Let’s hear what fellow (and early) adopters have to say about it


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Edoardo Giammarino

Edoardo Giammarino

Co-Founder & Administrator. Drummer and Red Cross Volunteer, born in 1997. I like analog photography and videomaking. Firmly music-addicted.

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