Flexjet selects Starlink for internet connectivity

Starlink from Elon Musk’s SpaceX will be installed across Flexjet’s fractional private jet fleet, beginning with its Gulfstream G650s.

By Doug Gollan, September 20, 2023

Flexjet has selected broadband satellite internet provider Starlink for inflight connectivity.

According to the announcement, the move will offer its fractional owners and jet card flyers “WiFi access that, for the first time, will align with service expectations they would have in their boardroom.”

Jay Heublein, who leads Flexjet Global Maintenance and Product division, said, “Through Starlink, SpaceX has created the most significant technology advancement for private jet travel that we’ve seen in the last two decades. Reliable connectivity is vital to our owners, and for the first time, the technology exists to deliver on this expectation.”

Starlink operates more than 4,500 satellites in low-Earth orbit to provide internet access worldwide, opening connectivity to remote locations and aviation and maritime users.

According to Cruise Critic, American Cruise Lines, American Queen Voyages, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises, Hurtigruten, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings have all selected Starlink for connectivity on their cruise ships.

By-the-seat private jet flight provider JSX also has chosen Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

“As the first global business jet operator to adopt Starlink, Flexjet is leading the way in bringing a truly reliable high-speed internet solution to its aircraft owners,” said Chad Gibbs, SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink Business Operations.

The Federal Aviation Administration has certified Starlink’s technology for Flexjet’s Gulfstream G650s.

Once work to install the antennas in that fleet is completed, work would begin to certify and install the technology across the Flexjet fleet.

Starlink service is available on the ground from boarding. It doesn’t require the airplane to be at a specific altitude, so users don’t have to worry about having their WiFi access disrupted.

I need WiFi

Overall, 35% of private jet flyers say they require WiFi, while 37% say they want WiFi if possible, according to the soon-to-be-released 2023/24 Jet Card Report by Private Jet Comparisons.

With large cabin flyers, 54% of Private Jet Card Comparisons subscribers say they must have WiFi, while 34% say they want it if possible.

The announcement follows last week’s opening of Flexjet’s new state-of-the-art world headquarters and operations center outside Cleveland.

The second-largest fractional operator is expected to make a significant fleet order announcement next month in Las Vegas during NBAA.

In its battle with NetJets, the largest provider, Flexjet, recently fortified its last-mile strategy, enabling fractional owners to interchange fixed-wing hours with its helicopter division.

The rotorcraft provides flights in the New York City, Miami, and London metro areas.

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