• IASbaba
  • November 29, 2021
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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. 

Key Takeaways

  • 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

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