In a major development, the Civil Aviation Ministry on Monday has allowed in-flight wifi services on domestic aircraft. Air passengers can access the internet through Wi-Fi on-board when the devices are on airplane mode, the Civil Aviation Ministry has said, lifting the restrictions on flyers.
The amended aircraft rules had been published by the government in the official gazette on Saturday. The final rules notified on Saturday stated that the pilot-in-command may permit the use of cellular telephones by passengers of a flight “after the aircraft has landed and cleared the active runway.
“The pilot-in-command may permit the access of internet services by passengers on board an aircraft 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. Provided that the director general shall certify the aircraft for usage of internet in flight through Wi-Fi on board subject to procedures as specified in this behalf,” the latest notification by Aviation Ministry stated.”
An additional explanation has been added in the new rules saying an aircraft shall be deemed to be in flight when all its external doors are closed following embarkation until the moment when any such door is opened for disembarkation. The government in its latest notification has also mentioned that no objections from the public in respect of the draft rules have been received.
In August 2019, the Indian government in the draft of the amendment had also mentioned allowing cellular communication during flights. Furthermore, the Indian telecom regulator had in 2018 recommended that both Internet and mobile communications on board aircraft (MCA) service should be permitted as In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) in the Indian airspace.