Latvian airline airBaltic is planning to give all its passengers free inflight hi-speed internet.
The airline is equipping its entire fleet with SpaceX’s Starlink internet connectivity system.
From the moment they board, every passenger will have access to the free, in-flight high-speed internet without hassles or login pages.
It means that AirBaltic will become the first airline in Europe to offer free internet for all passengers in all classes.
The system should be available in 2023 once approval is gained and the equipment is installed onboard.
airBaltic has an all Airbus A220-300 fleet. Currently it has 39 A220s in action – the 39th was received on 31 December 2022. This was the seventh Airbus A220-300 aircraft delivery for airBaltic in 2022. It has another 11 on order, meaning a total of 50, and 30 more options.
Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic:
“This marks a historic moment for our airline and the industry as a whole. Soon airBaltic will become the first airline in Europe to launch high-speed, unlimited, and free-of-charge satellite internet on board. We are excited to further improve our service to our passengers who will soon benefit from this internet connectivity onboard our flights within the airBaltic network in Europe and beyond.”
Starlink from SpaceX
Developed by SpaceX, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet in over 40 countries and counting around the world and began serving commercial aircraft last year with in-flight high-speed internet.
With satellites positioned in low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 550 km, over 65 times closer than conventional geostationary satellites, Starlink achieves significantly lower latency and higher transmission speeds for its end users.
Starlink can deliver up to 350 Mbps to aircraft, and with latency as low as 20 ms, passengers can engage in activities previously not functional in flight, including online gaming, virtual private networks, and other high data rate activities.
Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Sales :
“By becoming the first European airline to implement Starlink fleetwide, airBaltic is setting a new standard in ensuring its passengers have an internet experience that they have come to expect in our modern age.
“Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency internet, airBaltic passengers will have internet similar to or better than what they experience at home. Customers will walk on the plane and the internet will simply work, making the stress of login pages and downloading large files before takeoff a thing of the past.”
About airBaltic (BT)
airBaltic is the flag carrier of Latvia. Its primary shareholder is the Latvian state, which holds 97.96% of the stock, while the rest of the shareholders hold 2.04%.
It’s main base is the Latvian capital of Riga. The airline connects the Baltic region with over 70 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and the CIS.
airBaltic is responsible for more than 2.5% of the Latvian GDP.
Routes: airBaltic flies to 70+ destinations across Baltics, Europe, Caucasus, Middle east and Central Asia, including:
- London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and most western Europe capitals
- Longer routes include Reykjavík (4h 5min), Dubai (6h 50min), Gran Canaria (6h 40min)
Fleet: airBaltic operates an all Airbus fleet, comprising:
- 39 Airbus A220-300
N.B. Image credit: airBaltic