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airBaltic successfully trials SpaceX’s Starlink connectivity platform in Riga  

Latvian airline airBaltic has announced that it has successfully completed an initial test of SpaceX’s Starlink internet connectivity system onboard one of its Airbus A220-300 aircraft. The ground test was conducted at the airline’s home base at Riga Airport (RIX) in Latvia. The inflight connectivity system was tested with a full cabin of passengers comprising airBaltic and SpaceX’s Starlink employees. 

airBaltic has been working with SpaceX on achieving the approvals and certification required for Starlink onboard connectivity on its fleet of 47 Airbus A220-300s and is expected to begin installing the product across the fleet by the end of 2024.  

“We are excited to lead the way in Europe by offering high-speed, unlimited, and complimentary inflight connectivity onboard our flights,” said Martin Gauss, President and CEO of airBaltic. “This first test brings good insights and moves us closer to enhancing our service for passengers traveling within the airBaltic network in Europe and beyond.” 

“We are grateful to our partners at SpaceX’s Starlink for their unwavering support throughout this transformative journey. Their shared ambition and dedication perfectly complement airBaltic’s values. As we operate one of the most modern aircraft types on the market, it was the next logical step for airBaltic to introduce the cutting-edge Starlink inflight internet solution onboard this fleet,” Gauss added. 

airBaltic / Starlink

Developed by SpaceX, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet in over 90 countries and territories around the world and began serving commercial aircraft in 2023 with inflight high-speed internet access. With satellites positioned in low-Earth orbit at an altitude over 65 times closer than conventional geostationary satellites, Starlink claims to achieve significantly lower latency and higher transmission speeds for its end users.  

According to SpaceX, Starlink can deliver up to 500 Mbps to aircraft, allowing passengers to engage in activities previously not functional in flight, including online gaming, virtual private networks, and other high data-rated activities. 

“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,” said Jason Fritch, VP Sales of Starlink.   

With plans to equip its entire A220-300 fleet with SpaceX’s Starlink inflight connectivity system, airBaltic is aiming to provide every passenger with seamless, high-speed internet access throughout their journey without hassle or the need to go through login pages.  According to the carrier, “internet access will be available to all passengers from boarding to landing.”   

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