SpaceX Signs First Starlink Deal with an Aircraft Maker: De Havilland Canada

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SpaceX has signed another customer for its Starlink satellite internet and in-flight Wi-Fi, this time with aircraft manufacturer De Havilland Canada, based out of Toronto, Ontario.

According to De Havilland Canada, it will be refreshing its Dash 8-400 aircraft with new features to “enhance passenger appeal with more functionality and flexibility”, said the company on Tuesday.

One of these new upgrades includes built-in Starlink internet for in-flight Wi-Fi, which offers much faster speeds than any existing product offering for aircraft, whether it be satellite or air-to-ground systems.

“The Starlink antenna’s lightweight and aerodynamic form factor enable a more sustainable operation with fuel savings not capable with other legacy systems,” explained De Havilland Canada, which noted it will work with Starlink to integrate the service on its aircraft.

“As we work toward relaunching the production of the Dash 8-400 aircraft, our design weight increases and cabin enhancements, which are available to retrofit in-service aircraft, illustrate De Havilland Canada’s ongoing commitment and investments to support the worldwide fleet,” said Jean-Philippe Côté, Vice President, Programs, De Havilland Canada, in a statement.

“Our solutions offer our operators many opportunities to increase operational flexibility and to provide a passenger experience that is equivalent to that on new production aircraft. In addition, our design weight increases for the Dash 8-400 aircraft will allow operators to meet the increasing passenger weight allowance requirements mandated by Transport Canada, the FAA and various other aviation authorities, without any impact on revenue.”

According to De Havilland Canada, this is the first deal between Starlink and any OEM of airplanes. The Toronto company says this decision to partner with SpaceX for Starlink highlights its “customer focus and agility as an organization.”

De Havilland says the Starlink kit includes the antenna dish, power supply unit, Wi-Fi wireless access point and applicable wiring.

SpaceX has inked other Starlink in-flight Wi-Fi deals with Hawaiian Airlines and JSX, but this is the first time the company is working with an aircraft maker.

On Sunday, SpaceX launched another batch of Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit; the launch matched the total number of SpaceX launches from 2021 and so far we’re only into July.

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