People boarding flights in India will now be able to use the internet mid-air as the central government gives a nod to airlines for in-flight WiFi services.
A landmark decision in India's Civil Aviation journey.
Rules have been notified for use of internet services by passengers onboard aircraft through in flight wifi connectivity.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) March 2, 2020
When can Indians use WiFi on planes?
According to the official notification, the services can only be availed after receiving a permit from the Pilot-in-Command and certification from the Director-General.
In addition to that, nearly all electronics can use the in-flight WiFi service as long as they are in airplane mode. The government also restricts airlines to provide the WiFi service when the aircraft is on the ground.
The Civil Aviation Ministry of India also said “(in-flight Wi-Fi) shall be deemed to be in flight when all its external doors are closed following embarkation until the moment when any such door is opened for disembarkation.”
TRAI recommends in-flight network services
Back in 2018, the Indian Telecom regulator (TRAI) recommended to the government that the internet, as well as mobile communications on board (MCA), should be permitted in Indian airspace.
For those who don’t know, MCA is a service that enables air passengers to take calls onboard. MCA might be on the back burner for now; however, the in-flight WiFi is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
Besides, users would certainly be able to take data calls and video calls in flights since it only requires a working Internet connection.
How does in-flight WiFi work?
The antenna under the aircraft body either connects to the nearest transmitter or uses Satellite WiFi when flying over remote areas. The aircraft uses its in-house router to give WiFi to everyone on board.
Will it be chargeable?
As per current trends, in-flight WiFi in India might be chargeable.
International Airlines have already been providing in-flight WiFi services to passengers for a long time. Apart from a handful, most airlines charge passengers for using the WiFi.
Airline’s reason that carrying the antenna for WiFi adds an extra burden to the aircraft, forcing it to use more fuel.
Vistara first to provide in-flight WiFi
Recently, the Tata group’s NELCO partnered with Panasonic Avionics Corporation to provide inflight WiFi services to airlines, starting with Vistara.
Vistara is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines.
“We are delighted that Nelco is spearheading in providing the long-awaited Aero in-flight connectivity services in the country,” said Nelco’s CEO PJ Nath.