SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, has struck its first deal to provide inflight internet service on aircraft using its Starlink constellation of broadband satellites.
According to Space.com, the service will be available later this year for customers of JSX, a charter airline that plans to equip 100 aircraft with inflight Wi-Fi provided by Starlink.
“The service will be offered free of charge to all JSX customers and will not require logging in or other complexities associated with legacy systems,” the JSX representative said in an emailed statement.
Delta Airlines, however, told the Wall Street Journal that it had recently conducted “exploratory testing” of Starlink’s internet technology in an effort to potentially reach business users.
Neither SpaceX nor its founder and CEO has commented on the JSX deal on Twitter to date, although Musk said in 2021 that SpaceX was targeting different types of aircraft for Starlink.
“Schedule driver is approved by authorities,” Musk tweeted earlier, alluding to the Federal Aviation Administration which oversees the airline industry.
“Must be certified for each aircraft type. Focus on 737 and A320 as these serve the most people, with development testing on Gulfstream,” he added.
JSX’s Embraer ERJa plane was off Musk’s list from then on, according to the report.
Regional jets, however, cater to business users as they are low-volume (30 seats each) and fly point-to-point between several high-population cities, primarily in the western United States and Texas.
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