Part of: GS- Prelims and Main GS-III: Climate Change and Conservation
Context: Three years after the Department of Telecom permitted WiFi services on commercial flights, it is yet to become a reality for domestic air travellers as airlines grapple with the huge installation costs and the impact of COVID-19 on passenger demand.
- Domestic carriers have been slow in offering the service because retrofitting aircraft with the required antenna is an expensive affair that takes nearly 12 hours.
- Airlines find it difficult to pass on the costs to the passengers in an extremely competitive market for the cheapest ticket.
- However, international airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France and Emirates have started offering the service, though earlier they were switching it off on entering India skies.
- The equipment costs ₹3 crore to ₹4 crore for one aircraft, which is the entry barrier because it is difficult to recover the cost from passengers.
- Those airlines that have started to offer the service are rolling it out only on new aircraft that come equipped with the antenna. Full-service carrier Vistara is the only Indian airline to offer it since September 2020.
To understand the Science behind In-flight Wifi, Click here