Elon Musk says SpaceX in talks to provide Starlink internet for airlines

SpaceX CEO touted the system’s potential to provide high-speed internet for airline passengers

Billionaire Elon Musk said Thursday that he is in talks with airlines about installing Starlink, a satellite-based broadband internet system operated by his private aviation firm, SpaceX.

Musk addressed his plans for the system in response to a question from one of his Twitter followers. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO touted the system’s potential to provide high-speed internet for airline passengers.

"Yes, we are talking to airlines about installing Starlink," Musk said. "Please let them know if you want it on your airliner. Low latency ~half gigabit connectivity in the air!"


Musk did not elaborate on which airlines were interested in the service. SpaceX representatives did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Last year, SpaceX officials said the Starlink system would eventually "provide high-speed, low-latency broadband connectivity across the globe, including to locations where internet has traditionally been too expensive, unreliable, or entirely unavailable."

Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos provides the keynote address at the Air Force Association's Annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference in Oxen Hill, MD, on September 19, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/A (Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images  |  Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP  / Getty Images)

SpaceX has received approval to launch about 12,000 satellites to facilitate the system and has reportedly requested permission to launch tens of thousands more. The company is open beta testing the system in 14 countries and is expected to finish this month.

In a June appearance at the Mobile World Congress, Musk said total investments in the Starlink system could approach $30 billion, Reuters reported.


Musk’s SpaceX is in the midst of a heated competition with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and other firms in the burgeoning private space flight industry. Amazon has its own satellite internet program, dubbed Project Kuiper.