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Qatar Airways Chooses Starlink for In-Flight Internet Advancement

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Qatar Airways Chooses Starlink for In-Flight Internet Advancement

Qatar Airways Chooses Starlink for In-Flight Internet Advancement. In a groundbreaking collaboration, Qatar Airways has teamed up with Starlink, marking the airline as the largest to partner with the satellite internet giant. This partnership promises to usher in a new era of in-flight connectivity for Qatar Airways passengers, with plans to offer complimentary high-speed, low-latency internet access on select aircraft and routes in the near future.

Elevating the In-Flight Experience with Starlink

Starlink cutting-edge service will redefine the already exceptional 5-star in-flight experience provided by Qatar Airways. Once activated, passengers will have access to lightning-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up to 350 Megabits per second. This high-speed connectivity will enable a multitude of internet-based services, including video streaming, gaming, enriched web browsing, and much more.

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A Commitment to Passenger Excellence

Qatar Airways, renowned as one of the world’s leading 5-star airlines, continues its unwavering commitment to offering passengers the very best in-flight experiences. The agreement with Starlink aims to deliver a seamless and rich Wi-Fi connectivity experience onboard, with just a simple one-click access.

This high-speed, low-latency network is made possible by the revolutionary Starlink satellite communications system, the largest satellite internet constellation in the world, engineered and operated by SpaceX. Currently, Qatar Airways and Starlink are in the pre-launch phase of their rollout strategy across the airline’s fleet.

Qatar Airways Group CEO Perspective

His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways Group, expressed his pride in the collaboration, stating, “Qatar Airways is proud to announce its agreement with Starlink to provide seamless and complimentary Wi-Fi 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. We look forward to our passengers benefiting from this state-of-the-art addition to Qatar Airways’ in-flight experience.”

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SpaceX Perspective on the Partnership

Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales, acknowledged Qatar Airways’ dedication to passenger experience, stating, “Qatar Airways continues to lead the way prioritizing the passenger experience. With Starlink set to support the entire Qatar Airways fleet, passengers traveling between over 160 destinations around the world will be able to stay connected with the most advanced high-speed internet service from space. In fact, as soon as passengers step onboard the plane, the internet works seamlessly throughout their flight from gate to gate, all from the comfort of their seats.”

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Global Expansion of Starlink

In the ever-growing expansion of Starlink services, Qatar Airways joins a list of prestigious airlines implementing this cutting-edge technology. Starlink is also being integrated by JSX, Hawaiian Airlines, airBaltic, and ZIPAIR, making it a global leader in delivering high-speed, low-latency internet access to users all around the world.

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Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed

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Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed

Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed. In a recent development, Qatar Airways, a long-standing user of Inmarsat-now-Viasat Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band satellite-based inflight connectivity service, has indicated its intention to offer SpaceX’s Starlink Aviation onboard Internet to its passengers on a complimentary basis. This offering will be accessible to passengers with a simple “one-click” process.

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Rollout on Specific Aircraft and Routes

According to an official press release from Qatar Airways, the low-latency In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) service will be introduced on “specific aircraft and routes.” The airline has also mentioned that they are currently in the pre-launch phase of the rollout strategy in collaboration with Starlink. SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales, Jonathan Hofeller, has expressed that Starlink is “set to support the entire Qatar Airways fleet.”

This news emerged following the APEX/IFSA Global EXPO event in Long Beach, where Qatar Airways Group’s Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. During this event, Starlink executives met with airline representatives in a nearby hotel.

Changing Landscape in In-Flight Connectivity

The Qatar Airways-Starlink collaboration signifies a shift in the in-flight connectivity landscape. Traditional GEO satellites are being challenged by Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink. For example, Flexjet has announced plans to replace the Viasat hardware on some of its aircraft with Starlink.

Viasat acquisition of Inmarsat, coupled with these changes, has led to some Inmarsat value-added resellers reevaluating their positions. SITA, a service provider to Qatar Airways, has already disclosed its intention to exit the cabin connectivity market by January 2025.

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Seeking Clarity from Qatar Airways

Runway Girl Network reached out to Qatar Airways to seek clarification on several points. They inquired about:

  • Qatar Airways plan regarding the replacement of Inmarsat (now Viasat) GX inflight connectivity hardware with Starlink.
  • Whether Starlink will be deployed across Qatar Airways’ entire fleet.
  • Commencement dates for supplemental type certifications and Starlink installations.
  • Which aircraft type will be the first to receive the new hardware.
  • The impact of SITA’s decision to cease being a GX value-added reseller on Qatar Airways’ decision to select Starlink.
  • Qatar Airways’ plans for continuing to roll out Inmarsat GX on its 787-9s.

Qatar Airways Response

In response to these queries, a Qatar Airways spokesperson stated via email that they would keep Runway Girl Network updated on any future operational developments. In a follow-up exchange, when further clarity on the deal was sought, the spokesperson requested the removal of a specific phrase from their press release.

Implications and Future Plans

In the absence of comprehensive details, it seems logical for Qatar Airways to consider introducing Starlink initially on its 787-8s. This fleet has seen recent in-seat In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) upgrades but still lacks true broadband connectivity.

Once Starlink is operational on Qatar Airways aircraft, passengers can anticipate complimentary access to ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up up to 350 Mbps, which can be used for various Internet-based services including video streaming, gaming, web browsing, and more. In contrast, the airline presently charges $10 for inflight access to its ‘Super Wi-Fi.

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Read Also: Qatar Airways Elevates In-Flight Connectivity with Starlink Partnership

Conclusion

Qatar Airways, in its press release, also proudly asserts its position as “the largest airline to collaborate with Starlink.” Other notable Starlink customers include Part 135 operator JSX, Hawaiian Airlines (launch delayed until early next year), airBaltic, and ZIPAIR.

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