- Qatar Airways has partnered with Starlink to offer free, high-speed WiFi on select aircraft, making it the largest airline to join Starlink’s connectivity solution.
- Passengers on Qatar Airways will have access to WiFi speeds of up to 350Mbps, capable of handling heavy-duty downloading like video streaming or gaming.
- While no specific dates or routes have been announced, there is a possibility that Starlink could eventually support the entire Qatar Airways fleet.
Qatar Airways has teamed up with SpaceX’s Starlink to offer complimentary high-speed inflight WiFi to passengers on select aircraft. The Qatari flag carrier is the largest airline to join Starlink’s connectivity solution.
Qatar Airways rolls out Starlink internet
The airline will implement Starlink’s inflight connectivity service onboard “specific aircraft and routes,” giving passengers in all cabin classes access to free, high-speed WiFi of up to 350Mbps. These speeds are more than capable of handling heavy-duty downloading, such as video streaming or gaming, to keep passengers connected in the skies.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, commented,
“Qatar Airways is proud to announce its agreement with Starlink to provide seamless and complimentary WiFi to its global passengers. This exciting collaboration is not only in line with our industry-leading approach to technological adoption, but also serves as an unmissable opportunity to connect Starlink to our global passengers.”
Qatar said that connecting to the onboard WiFi will be via “simple one-click access,” which hopefully means no lengthy sign-up forms to get online. Starlink’s impressive speeds of up to 350Mbps are far higher than the current tech on Qatar’s widebody fleet – some of its planes offer Inmarsat’s GX satellite internet (up to 50Mbps), while others are fitted with SITA’s OnAir solution.
When will it launch?
At this stage, Qatar Airways hasn’t given any dates on Starlink’s rollout or what routes/aircraft it will be available on. Hawaiian Airlines, which became the first major airline to sign up for Starlink back in April 2022, recently delayed its own rollout until early 2024, so it could be a while before we see it on Qatar’s jets.
Photo: GagliardiPhotography | Shutterstock
Perhaps more noteworthy is SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales Jonathan Hofeller’s comment that Starlink will eventually “support the entire Qatar Airways fleet,” suggesting the airline could make SpaceX its sole connectivity partner, or offer WiFi across its narrowbody fleet.
Which airlines offer Starlink?
Qatar Airways joins a growing list of Starlink partners – however, no major carriers have Starlink up and running yet, with Hawaiian Airlines looking to take that honor in early 2024. In March, Charter carrier JSX became the first airline to fit its entire active fleet of 40 Embraer ERJs with Starlink, with earlier tests demonstrating speeds of up to 100Mbps inflight.
Other airlines in the process of implementing Starlink include airBaltic and ZIPAIR, while Delta Air Lines has previously conducted its own tests of the tech. According to SpaceX’s Hofeller, Starlink will begin working as soon as passengers step foot on the aircraft, continuing seamlessly until the flight arrives.
Have you ever used Starlink onboard a flight before? How did it compare to other inflight satellite WiFi services? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Doha Hamad International Airport
- Year Founded:
- Akbar Al Baker