New Delhi: Air India is buying over 100 iPads for being given to business class passengers on ultra-long haul flights whose in-flight entertainment (IFE) screens are not working. Blank screens on Boeing 777s deployed for direct flights to the US, ranging from 17 hours for Delhi-San Francisco to 14 hours for Delhi-New York, are one of the biggest sore point for flyers.
“The aviation ministry has asked us to figure out how much will it cost to refurbish aircraft interiors and ensure IFE on long flights. Some of the IFE systems are old and repairing them or replacing them will be too expensive, so we are going to have iPads with pre-loaded content and games to passengers in business class of the nonstops to US. We will focus on economy class also for ensuring value-for-money experience with IFE,” said a senior AI official.
While the airline has told the ministry it will through a combination of cost-cutting and revenue enhancement ensure a benefit of Rs 2,000 crore per annum, attracting premium passengers means giving them basic service like IFE on ultra long flights. “We can look at internet-on-board but our first priority is ensuring IFE for all business passengers on US flights and other long hauls,” the official said.
The airline is also weighing the option of refurbishing aircraft interiors, seat upholstery and carpets at a medium cost. “There is no limit to what all can be done for refurbishment. We are looking at cost effective options for this job,” said the official
30/11/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India