As Musk makes successful Twitter deal, titan’s SpaceX inks first deal to provide U.S. airline with free Wi-Fi

Elon Musk’s Twitter deal isn’t the only blockbuster business news the corporate titan is making.

According to CNBC, a deal between Musk’s SpaceX and Hawaiian Airlines will give provide free Wi-Fi service to passengers on its flights.

The deal, announced Monday, would use SpaceX’s Starlink network, which uses roughly 2,000 low-earth orbit satellites to beam high-speed internet anywhere on the planet.

The service could start as early as next year — and it provides SpaceX with its first deal with a major U.S. airline.

Starlink “terminals,” or antennas, would begin being installed on Hawaiian’s fleet beginning next year.

The airline hasn’t tested the terminals on any of its aircraft, and Hawaiian Airlines chief marketing and communications officer Avi Mannis said there were “certification issues that need to be worked through before we’re ready to operate the product.”

“But we’re confident that there’s a path forward for that,” he added.

What’s more, a source with Hawaiian Airlines said it would provide the internet access to passengers for free, something that could be an industry game-changer.

Of major U.S. carriers, only JetBlue Airways currently offers free Wi-Fi for its passengers. Delta Air Lines tested it on some flights in 2019, but hasn’t moved toward a 2018 pledge to provide free internet to its passengers.

Hawaiian is an ideal customer for Starlink, given that its route network extends from the Hawaiian islands to destinations in North America and and across the Pacific, including Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

It currently doesn’t offer Wi-Fi on any of its 42 planes.

“Historically, we’ve looked at our market and not seen great options over the Pacific. We actually don’t have any connectivity on our fleet today,” said Mannis.

“The options have been improving over time, but we have waited until there was a product offering … that we thought would live up to the expectations of our guests.”

Hawaiian’s passengers will now be able to enjoy free access to Twitter — which Musk plans to buy for $44 billion.