Foreign airlines could be the immediate beneficiaries of the government’s recent nod to onboard voice and data connectivity as the domestic players were not yet equipped for internet services, according to an aviation consultancy firm.
Meanwhile, a global airline IT solution major feels the price point for domestic flights in India offering the voice and data services “will need to be appropriate”.
Aviation consultancy firm Centre for Asia Pacific (CAPA) said foreign carriers
will be the first to offer onboard connectivity in Indian airspace as domestic carriers were not yet equipped for wifi.
In a statement, the CAPA suggested that Indian carriers were expected to implement WiFi on international services in due course, particularly long haul flights.
To a question on the tariff charged by airlines abroad for providing such services, Drennan said it depended entirely on what the airline wishes to achieve.
“Some airlines offer the service free of charge – at least to some passengers. Others offer an initial session free or at nominal cost and then make a charge to passengers wishing to benefit more fully from the service -this is the same approach as you might find in a hotel room or other public hotspot,” he said.
According to the CAPA, airlines in India were yet to establish a viable business case for offering WiFi on domestic services given the expenditure involved and passenger propensity to pay on short sectors within India.
But the Telecom Commission’s approval last week for providing voice and data connectivity has created a buzz in the aviation sector especially among the air passengers planning a domestic or flying abroad, analysts said.
Making a strong case for in-flight connectivity during the consultation process, SITA ONAIR, in its submission to TRAI last year had said that connectivity over Indian airspace will offer seamless experience to airline passengers flying over the country.