Air India may launch Wi-Fi services on its domestic flights by July this year, says media report
1. Air India is planning to launch Wi-Fi services on board of its Airbus A-320 planes which are mainstay of its domestic operations
2. Since the internet connection is likely to be free, Air India may start with a basic pack for free and later move on to paid data packs
3. Depending on passenger feedback, Air India may go in for bigger paid data packs
You may soon be able to access internet while you are on board of Air India flight as the government-owned air carrier is planning to introduce Wi-Fi services on its domestic planes by July this year, The Times of India reported.
It is planning to launch Wi-Fi services on board of its Airbus A-320 planes which are mainstay of its domestic operations.
"We are working on having Wi-Fi on our planes. We have issued expression of interest and will take the aircraft manufacturer's nod to install Wi-Fi equipment. Though giving an exact date is difficult, we are aiming to start this by June or July," the report said quoting Air India chief Ashwani Lohani, as saying.
According to the report, the airline did not specify how much data and what speed it is looking at.
Since the internet connection is likely to be free, it may start with a basic pack for free and later move on to paid data packs, it said.
The free basic pack will allow receiving and sending mails and checking WhatsApp, it added.
Depending on passenger feedback, Air India may go in for bigger paid data packs. Leading international airlines that offer on board Wi-Fi have been following this model.
The report cited an example of foreign airline like Gulf carrier with massive presence in India that offers 10MB of free data which is enough to search, send emails and update Facebook.
Beyond this, flyers can pay for additional data to stay connected throughout the flight. Global carriers offer price plans that are either volume-based or time-based.
Volume-based price plans are usually only valid on the flight sector they're purchased on.
It further cited another example of a southeast Asian carrier, stating it offers time-based unlimited data pack with 24-hour validity for Rs 1,175 to Rs 1,400, depending on the service provider.
Offering data services is clearly emerging as a big source of revenue for airlines.
Presently, no Indian airline offers internet on board and Air India may be the first to do so.
"Enabling complete Wi-Fi connectivity on board is the next obvious milestone, pending in-principle approvals from the government," the report said quoting a Jet Airways official, as saying.
Most airlines in India are examining the option of rolling out Wi-Fi services on their flights, however, they did not give any comments to the newspaper.
Foreign airlines which have internet on board are allowed to keep it on Indian airspace only if they have a local server, cited the report.
If they do not have a local server, they have to keep their internet on-board switched off for the time their plane is in Indian airspace, it added.