Friday, July 28, 2017

Indian carriers eye inflight Internet as country mulls removing block

Honeywell’s Boeing 757 testbed recently made a pit stop in India. Fresh off of interviewing Indian carriers plus Honeywell and Inmarsat executives, RGN contributing editor Neelam Mathews delivers her report from New Delhi.

India’s archaic regulatory policy continues to freeze out inflight Internet in the country. Even international aircraft entering Indian airspace must switch off their systems. This may soon change as the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), anxious to open up wifi in the airspace of one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets, is awaiting the nod from the Ministry of Home Affairs (India’s homeland security), which had cited ‘security concerns’ about connectivity following the hijack of an Air India domestic aircraft to Afghanistan in December 1999.

“They need to upgrade their mindsets,” an airline official told RGN. Recently even R.N. Choubey, Secretary of MoCA, remarked that India and North Korea are perhaps the only two nations left that continue to impose this rule.

National carrier Air India has long toyed with the idea of offering inflight Internet to passengers. The carrier is once again weighing its options on whether connectivity is viable for its 777 aircraft, according to H. R. Jagannath, CEO of Air India Engineering Service Ltd. He says Air India wants a cost-effective option that offers a Supplemental Type Certificate issued by EASA and validated by the regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Longhaul 777 flights are targeted as “it makes sense to have wifi on a 15-hour flight….We expect the government to give approval soon,” says Jagannath. A system has not yet been selected.
27/07/17 Runwaygirl Network