Passengers can soon access internet via Wi-Fi on domestic flights as government amends rules

The Aviation Ministry has allowed flyers to access internet through Wi-Fi on aircraft, PTI reported on Monday. However, the devices ought to be on airplane mode. Currently, the facility is only available for defence personnel.

“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 laptop, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, e-reader or a point of sale device is used in flight mode or airplane mode,” a notification by Aviation Ministry, dated February 21, read. “Provided that the Director-General shall certify the aircraft for usage of internet service in flight through Wi-Fi on board subject to the procedures as specified in this behalf.”

The notification does not say when the rules will come into affect.

In 2018, the Department of Telecommunications had recommended that both internet and mobile communications services be permitted in the Indian airspace. The facility is likely to help airlines collect more revenue.

Foreign airlines have been offering in-flight WiFi services on both international and domestic flights. However, it had to be switched off once the aircraft entered the Indian airspace.

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