Debt laden National carrier Air India will have Wi-Fi access aboard its flights sometime in the future. That is, if the loss making carrier hasn’t sold all of its planes to pay off debts by then.
Of course the Wi-Fi service won’t be free.
The service is said to help Air India plug the losses emerging out of its international routes that contribute to over 80% of its losses (that’s like nearly Rs 4,000 cr this year). Or in other words, a drop in the ocean. The flying allowance to its pilots can wait.
Air India is the largest international carrier from the country and with the entry of Tata-SIA, Jet-Etihad, is set to face higher competition on international routes. It is yet to make an entry into the LCC space to compete with local carriers.
French in-flight entertainment and service company – Thales could be responsible for the implementation of the wifi service. The company has been asked to make a presentation by the Air India management.
“There are two aspects of providing Wi-Fi on planes. While the hardware will have be installed on aircraft, Thales is perhaps the only company globally that provides the software and connectivity for internet connectivity in air,” said a senior official to the Times of India.
The AI management will examine the technical aspects of the step, and will also ensure that the service is implemented in a cost-neutral way.
The Federal Aviation Administration in the US recently ruled in favour of allowing the usage of personal electronic devices like e-books and being able to watch video on their devices while in flight.