Wi-Fi on flights will soon be a reality in India, says Govt

SansadTV Bureau
An Air India aircraft taking off. Photo credit: Air India

An Air India aircraft taking off.
Photo credit: Air India

Fliers may soon be able to use Wi-Fi facilities when they are on flights in the Indian airspace. The government has suggested that a decision on the matter may be taken in the next few days.

“I will be able to give you good news in 10 days…There is fairly a good chance that in ten days permission will be given to operate Wi-Fi in the Indian airspace,” said Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey in response to a query on when Wi-Fi would be allowed in flights.

As of now fliers are not allowed to use mobile phones and Internet when they are in the Indian airspace.

But the Ministry has said both Indian and international carriers will be able to implement the facility once approved.

“It (wifi facility) will be available to both Indian carriers and foreign carriers, which may be only overflying the Indian airspace,” Choubey said.

He also said that making voice calls from flights could also be a near possibility.

If data is going to be allowed, it should be possible to make calls as well, said Choubey on Wednesday.

“We expect that to happen as well,” he added.

“I must compliment the present DoT Secretary… I have been chasing it for quite sometime. I am obviously saying so on the basis of what Deepak (DoT Secretary) has told me,” Choubey clarified.

According to him, the Cabinet’s approval will not be required for the proposal.

When asked whether there were any security issues in allowing Wi-Fi in flights, Choubey said the important thing was the “ability to track voice and data”.

If necessary, agencies should have access to the details so that they can be tracked when necessary, he noted.

Choubey was speaking at an awards function organised by the Air Passengers Association of India (APAI).

(With inputs from PTI)