Indian airlines have now been given the go-ahead to provide in-flight WiFi service to passengers after the government issued an official notification, bringing them at par with their global airlines' peers.
The Department of Telecommunications had, two years ago, recommended permission for both internet and mobile communications in the Indian airspace. Once provided, this facility is likely to help airlines collect more revenue and also help the telcos to earn as well.
As per industry reports, the service initially could be slightly expensive by global standards.
Recently, Vistara Airlines partnered with Tata group company Nelco for in-flight data services, which are expected to be rolled by the full-service carrier shortly. Vistara - a joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines - is also likely to be the first domestic carrier to provide in-flight connectivity within India.
"The Pilot-in-Command may permit the access of Internet services by passengers on board an aircraft in flight, through Wi-Fi on board, when a laptop, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, e-reader or a point of sale device is used in flight mode or the airplane mode," the official notification from the Civil Aviation Ministry stated.
"Provided that the Director-General shall certify the aircraft for the usage of internet service in-flight through Wi-Fi on board subject to the procedures as specified in this behalf," the notification adds.
An additional explanation has been added in the new rules, saying an aircraft 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.
The government in its latest notification has also said that it received no objections or suggestions from the public in respect of the draft rules.
Currently, this service is available only for defence personnel.