Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has very clearly stated in their rules (civil aviation requirement 3.1): “No person shall use any electronic device, which intentionally transmits radio signals like mobile/cellular phones, amateur radio transceivers, etc at all times while on board an aircraft for the purpose of flight.”
This is the reason no Indian domestic airlines operator ever dared to offer WiFi connectivity inflight; although it’s a norm in US, Europe and rest of the world. Barring few International airlines (including Air India, Indigo, Vistara, AirAsia, Spicejet), WiFi connectivity is absent from the Indian airspace.
But Jet Airways wants to change that.
In a revolutionary arrangement for Indian aviation, Jet Airways will soon offer WiFi connectivity for air passengers on their domestic routes. Jet Airways has issued a statement, wherein they have announced several new features which includes some path-breaking in-flight entertainment packages and Internet connectivity via satellite during the flight.
Way back in 2012, we had reported that Civil Aviation Ministry is contemplating such service, but nothing concrete came out of it. However, under PM Modi’s Digital India campaign, it seems that this last barrier for WiFi would be finally broken.
Gaurang Shetty, senior vice president – commercial, Jet Airways, said: “This best-in-class, customer-focused initiative will provide superior entertainment and communication options to guests and we are confident that it will set new benchmarks by delivering high quality, global entertainment content to guests’ personal devices.”
Some of the features which would be now included in Jet flights are: internet surfing, e-mail, social media, connecting flight information, instant messaging, real time travel services and destination deals.
However, Jet Airways has made it clear that the approval of these services are subjected to regulatory approvals (which they are about to receive, as per insider reports). Reports are emerging that starting from second quarter of 2016, Boeing 737 will be equipped with WiFi connectivity for domestic flights.
Pricing details for accessing WiFi at 40,000 feet hasn’t been shared yet.
In case Jet Airways is able to kickstart this operation, then other airlines would also attempt this coup, and very soon all domestic air passengers would be able to surf and use Internet, albeit at a higher price than usual.
A definitive positive step for Indian Aviation.
We will keep you updated as more details come in.