India's Government Remains Mum on In-Flight Wi-Fi
PHOTO: A Jet Airways flight on the runway in Kathmandu. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)
The future of Wi-Fi connectivity in Indian airspace remains up in the air as the country's government continues to weigh the risks and rewards.
PTI reported India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation is considering everything but has no timetable for a decision.
"The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is studying the matter to make sure that all considerations are adequately addressed and as soon as that is done, we will issue a statement," the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told PTI.
"I don’t have a timeline. The matter is under consideration," added Sinha.
Currently, India doesn't allow Wi-Fi service on domestic flights and requires international flights to turn off Wi-Fi service while traveling through Indian airspace. India's Home Ministry cites security concerns as the primary reason, specifically the challenges of tracking voice and data usage from the sky.
According to Mashable, a senior industry official said the concerns stem from a 1999 hijacking of a Delhi-bound Indian airlines flight.
Nonetheless, it's been nearly two months since Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey said there was "a fairly good chance" Wi-Fi permission would be given over Indian airspace in as little as 10 days, leaving many air travelers confused and frustrated.
For carriers, Wi-Fi connectivity represents another potential revenue source. Citing Euroconsult, BloombergQuint reported revenue from passenger connectivity services could reach $5.4 billion by year 2025, up significantly from $700 million in 2015.
"Having a service like Internet on board an aircraft should not be considered as a luxury," Mark D. Martin, founder of aviation adviser Martin Consulting LLC told BloombergQuint. "The Internet today is an imperative. You need to know what’s going on around the world. You have to be in touch, you have to be connected."
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