Passengers will be allowed to access the internet on domestic flights when smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets are used on flight mode.

Soon passengers can use WiFi on domestic flights in India
Money Aviation Monday, March 02, 2020 - 14:35

You will now be able to access the internet with WiFi on board on domestic flights in India with the government notifying rules for the same.

According to an amendment to the Aircraft Rules, 1937, the pilot-in-command in a domestic flight can now permit the access of internet services when the smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc is used on flight mode.

The government has said in the Aircraft (Second Amendment) Rules, 2020 that this is subject to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) certifying the aircraft for usage of internet service in flight through Wi-Fi on board.

An aircraft shall be deemed to be in flight when all its external doors are closed during take-off until the moment when any such door is opened for disembarkation after landing.

Earlier, in the Aircraft Rules of 1937, rule 29B prohibited the use of portable electronic devices. “No person shall operate, nor shall the operator or the pilot-in-command of an aircraft allow the operation of any portable electronic device on board an aircraft in flight,” the rule earlier read.

This comes after the Civil Aviation ministry published draft rules on August 14, 2019 and invited comments from the public within 30 days over the same. The draft rules had also proposed at the time usage of cellular services be permitted in flights. However, there has been no notification on the same.

In its notification, the government also mentioned that no objections or suggestions were received from the public in respect of the draft rules within the period specified.

In February 2020, Nelco, a Tata Enterprise entity and Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) solutions provider announced the launch of Aero in-flight communication (IFC) services in India.

The Aero IFC services will enable seamless at-home and in-office experience in the skies for airline passengers. Further, it gives an opportunity for airlines to differentiate with others, enhance passenger experience, drive passenger loyalty, open up additional onboard revenue streams and optimize flight operations, the company said in a statement at the time of the launch.

It also said that Aero IFC will make it possible for international aircraft flying over India as well as domestic airlines to offer broadband Internet services to its passengers on board.

Vistara became the first airline to sign up for Aero IFC services and is likely to be the first domestic airline company to launch these services very soon.

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