With my social circle consisting of folks that know me as a Starlink connoisseur, I have been bombarded with queries relating to Starlink Aviation since its announcement.
Being the newest addition to Starlink's arsenal, Starlink Aviation has caught quite a few eyeballs owing to its enticing use cases for a large population.
So I figured I write this article explaining in-depth all the information that we know about Starlink Aviation and the future it promises.
Starlink Aviation is a service offered by Starlink that provides high-speed inflight internet connectivity for commercial and private aircraft using their low earth orbiting Starlink satellite constellations. The service is for the aircraft rather than the passengers on the plane.
What is Starlink Aviation?
Starlink Aviation enables planes and other aircraft to make use of Starlink's excellent satellite internet for in-flight internet during the course of their journey.
Since Starlink satellites are present on all continents with great coverage, Starlink intends to launch this as a global internet service for commercial and private aircraft.
Starlink Aviation is specifically for the aircraft and not a plan for the commercial passengers on the plane.
If Starlink Aviation is implemented on an aircraft, the aircraft can enable the WiFi routers to share access for the passengers on board.
The primary goal of Starlink Aviation, according to its affluent owner, is to provide similar internet speeds you would get at home on a plane as well.
Starlink Aviation Kit
The star of the show, the Starlink Aviation Kit consists of the following:
- Aero Terminal
- Power Supply
- Two wireless access points
The Aero Terminal is the Starlink receiver that communicates with the Starlink satellite.
It features an electronically steered phased array antenna that is packed in a very subtle unit and attached to the exterior of the aircraft without affecting its aerodynamics.
The two wireless access points can be set up at both ends of the aircraft to get the maximum coverage.
Speeds and Performance of Starlink Aviation
Starlink does promise incredible speeds with Starlink Aviation, similar to how their portable plans such as Starlink Maritime and Starlink RV.
Here are the speeds and latency figures that Starlink promises for their Starlink Aviation subscribers:
|Upto 350 Mbps download speeds||20 ms|
|Starlink Residential||50-200 Mbps||20-40 ms|
|Starlink Residential with High-performance dish||100-350 Mbps||20-40 ms|
|Starlink RV||50-200 Mbps||20-40 ms|
|Starlink RV with flat high-performance dish||100-350 Mbps||20-40 ms|
|Starlink Business||100-350 Mbps||20-40 ms|
|Starlink Maritime||100-350 Mbps||<99 ms|
Conventional in-flight internet connections usually rely on ground stations that are situated on land for internet connectivity.
This has a major drawback in that the internet will be cut off when at sea.
The speeds are also pretty abysmal, with average download speeds rated at around 10 Mbps, with max speeds peaking at 100 Mbps.
Starlink Aviation, on the other hand, promises a whopping 350 Mbps of download speeds with insane latency figures of about 20 ms.
This allows passengers to engage in on-land day-to-day activities such as VPN connections, video calls, and even decent gaming.
Starlink also has the technology to back this claim, as Starlink uses its satellite constellations for internet connectivity instead of ground stations.
This allows for blazing speeds throughout your in-flight trip.
Pricing and Costs of Starlink Aviation
Here is a brief rundown of the costs and pricing you can expect from a Starlink Aviation subscription:
|Hardware fee||$150,000 (one time)|
|Starlink Aviation monthly fee||$12,500 to $25,000|
|Preorder||$5,000 via Credit card|
There is a standard hardware fee that you will need to shell out for the Starlink Aviation Kit, which will set you back at $150,000.
This is a one-time fee, unlike other satellite internet competitors so you need not worry about paying up monthly rent for the hardware.
The Starlink hardware is also covered under warranty for as long as you subscribe to Starlink Aviation.
The Starlink Aviation plan is priced between $12,500 and $25,000 depending on the plan chosen.
You can preorder your Starlink Aviation kit for $5,000 which is refundable. This payment can only be done using a credit card.
Starlink Aviation does require a professional team for installation which might cost extra. Starlink doesn't offer such a team and recommends consulting a third-party installation team.
Availability of Starlink Aviation
Starlink stated it will start delivering the Starlink Aviation kit sometime in mid-2023, prioritizing the order they received the preorders.
In fact, air carriers working commercially such as Hawaiian Airlines and charter provider JSX have already signed early deals with Starlink for in-flight testing.
Considering Starlink's track record for delivering kits and the possible number of users they can expect out of this plan, it is safe to say that the deliveries could be on time.
Supported Aircraft for Starlink Aviation
You need a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the FAA to deploy a Starlink Aviation system for your aircraft.
The STC certificate is what allows owners to modify their aircraft from its original design.
The STC for the following aircraft are currently in development, with more models being added at a good pace:
- Embraer ERJ135
- Embraer ERJ140
- Embraer ERJ145
- Embraer E170
- Embraer E175
- Embraer E190
- Embraer E195
- Embraer Phenom 300
- Gulfstream G650
- Gulfstream G550
- Gulfstream G450
- Dassault Falcon 2000
- Bombardier Challenger 300
- Bombardier Challenger 350
- Bombardier Challenger 600
- Bombardier Challenger 601
- Bombardier Challenger 604
- Bombardier Challenger 605
- Bombardier Challenger 650
- Bombardier Global Express
- Bombardier Global 5000
- Bombardier Global 6000
- Bombardier Global 7500
- Beechcraft King Air 200
- Beechcraft King Air 300
- Cessna Caravan C208
- ATR 72-500
- ATR 72-600
- De Havilland Canada Dash (DHC-8) Q400 (8-400)
- De Havilland Canada Dash (DHC-8) Q300 (8-300)
- Airbus A321
- Airbus A330
- Boeing 737
- Boeing 757
- Boeing 787
If you want to get an STC for a specific aircraft model, you can send a mail to: email@example.com
Competitors/Alternatives to Starlink Aviation
Starlink Aviation can seem like a brilliant idea at first glance, but Starlink does face stiff competition from industry veterans in in-flight internet service providers.
OneWeb is one such British competitor that provides satellite internet connectivity via low-earth orbiting satellites.
OneWeb is also collaborating with Panasonic Avionics, another inflight broadband giant, to offer similar satellite internet connectivity to over 70 airlines.
Gogo is also a very popular company that offers inflight internet connectivity to private jets and business aircraft.
In fact, Gogo has over 80% market share which can prove to be a major hurdle for Starlink.
If you have more queries or updates regarding Starlink Aviation, you can contact and check out Starlink Support.
I hope my article on the Starlink Aviation service has been a worthwhile read and has aided you with the same.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How many Starlink Satellites are currently orbiting the Earth?
As of November of 2022, Starlink has 3,271 Starlink satellites orbiting the Earth, out of which 3,236 are operational.
Will Starlink Aviation be available during take-off?
Starlink will be available for Aviation customers even during take-off and landing, as long as the Starlink antennas have an unobstructed view of the sky.
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