Elon Musk’s satellite-internet business is pushing to provide wireless internet on airplanes — long a source of frustration among travelers — with at least one major carrier, Delta Air Lines Inc.
testing the offering.
The Atlanta-based airline has held talks with SpaceX’s broadband unit, called Starlink, and conducted exploratory tests of Starlink’s technology, Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in a recent interview. He declined to discuss specifics.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the formal name for Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Musk’s SpaceX has been building out Starlink over the past several years by blasting internet satellites into the lower reaches of orbit and selling broadband services to businesses and consumers. Musk said in a tweet last year that the unit was focused on getting certified for Boeing Co.
737 and Airbus SE’s
A320 planes, “as those serve [the] most number of people.”
Analysts forecast growing demand for Wi-Fi on jetliners, despite complaints about reception and speeds from some passengers over the years. The number of connected aircraft could more than double to as many as 20,000 by the end of the decade, according to Euroconsult, a consulting firm that focuses on the satellite industry.
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