Delta airline has held talks with SpaceX’s broadband unit, called Starlink, conducted exploratory tests of Starlink’s technology,
Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in a recent interview. He declined to discuss specifics.
Starlink, part of Elon Musk’s space company, aims to provide broadband to airlines as it pushes to reach business clients
Elon Musk’s satellite-internet business is pushing to provide wireless internet on airplanes, with at least one major carrier,
Mr. Musk’s SpaceX has been building out Starlink over the past several years by launching internet satellites into the lower reaches of orbit and selling broadband services to businesses and consumers
*tweet on the news on Deltanad Starlink -source WSJ
— Tesla Owners Silicon Valley (@teslaownersSV) April 19, 2022
Analysts forecast growing demand for Wi-Fi on jetliners,
despite complaints about reception and speeds over the years. The number of connected aircraft could more than double to as many as 20,000 by the end of the decade, according to Euroconsult, a consulting firm that focuses on the satellite industry.
Satellite-communications companies such as Intelsat SA and Viasat Inc. already have businesses connecting thousands of planes. Dave Bijur, Intelsat’s vice president for commercial aviation, said many airlines are looking for ways to offer high-quality broadband on flights.
- “A lot of airlines want to offer streaming-quality services” to their customers, he said.
Delta has sought to position itself as a premium service for high-end corporate travelers, who expect to be able to connect wherever they go. The airline did a test run offering free internet on some flights before the Covid-19 pandemic.
SpaceX has pitched Starlink as a major business opportunity, several years ago forecasting the unit would have more than 40 million subscribers by 2025.
The FCC has granted Space X permission to test Starlink for aircraft, a filing shows