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Qatar Airways to Offer Starlink-Powered High-Speed Wi-Fi

The Gulf carrier is the largest airline to announce a partnership with the ultrafast high-speed satellite network

by Fergus Cole

October 17, 2023

Photo: Qsuite Business Class seat. Courtesy of Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways┬áhas partnered with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to provide Starlink-powered Wi-Fi on board its flights, allowing passengers to access high-speed internet.

While the official launch date, initial routes, and aircraft have yet to be announced, Qatar Airways plans to make the service available on its entire fleet.

Photo: Courtesy of Anirudh / Unsplash

Starlink Wi-Fi, powered by SpaceX’s network of low-orbiting satellites, can provide download speeds of up to 350Mbps, enabling passengers to use their devices for online gaming, streaming, video calling, VPN access, and browsing seamlessly.

The Starlink network is expected to replace the airline’s current ‘Super Wi-Fi’ offering, which runs on Inmarsat’s GX aviation technology and is available on select aircraft, as well as the significantly slower ‘OnAir Wi-Fi’ available on other aircraft.

However, while Qatar Airways’ Super Wi-Fi typically costs $10 per flight, its Starlink Wi-Fi is set to be complimentary for all passengers.

Photo: Qatar Airways QSuite. Courtesy of Qatar Airways.

“Qatar Airways is proud to announce its agreement with Starlink to provide seamless and complimentary Wi-Fi to its global passengers,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.

“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 benefitting from this state-of-the-art addition to Qatar Airways’ in-flight experience.”

The recent collaboration announcement means Qatar Airways has become the fifth and largest airline to offer Starlink Wi-Fi onboard its flights. The other four airlines offering Starlink Wi-Fi or will soon introduce it are JSX, Hawaiian Airlines, airBaltic, and ZIPAIR.

Photo: Qatar Airways, Airbus A350-1000. Courtesy of Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways boasts an expansive global network that spans across six continents, encompassing over 160 destinations. Its hub in Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DIA) provides seamless connections for passengers worldwide.

In the United States, the airline flies to 12 different destinations, including New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Seattle (SEA), San Francisco (SFO), Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Philadelphia (PHL), Miami (MIA), Houston (IAH), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), and Washington, D.C. (IAD).

“Qatar Airways continues to lead the way prioritizing the passenger experience,” said Jonathan Hofeller, VP of Commercial Sales at SpaceX. “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 advance high-speed internet service from space.”

“As soon as passengers step onboard the plane the internet works seamlessly throughout their flight from gate to gate, and all from the comfort of their seats.”