CAPA India welcomes inflight connectivity decision by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

    CAPA India stated (03-May-2018) approval by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India for inflight connectivity is a “welcome development”. Airlines will be permitted to offer both data and voice services, although most carriers are unlikely to allow voice calls due to concerns that fellow passengers will be disturbed. As the Indian fleet is not yet equipped for WiFi, foreign carriers will be the first to offer inflight connectivity in Indian airspace. However, Indian carriers are expected to implement WiFi on international services in due course, particularly long haul. In fact, CAPA India noted it may be a key feature for long haul LCCs to be able to generate ancillaries, either from WiFi access fees or from advertising, streaming inflight entertainment, F&B orders or merchandise sales. CAPA India also noted there is significant capital expenditure associated with the installation of WiFi equipment (whether retrofit or linefit) and ongoing operating costs, while the passenger propensity to pay for connectivity on the relatively short sectors within India is limited. Hence airlines are yet to establish a viable business case for offering WiFi on domestic services.