In a long-awaited move, air passengers can access internet through Wii-Fi on board when the devices are on airplane mode, the Civil Aviation Ministry has said, lifting the restrictions on flyers.
"The Pilot-in-Command may permit the access of internet services by passengers on board an aircraft in flight, through Wii-Fi on board, when laptop, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, e-reader or a point of sale device is used in flight mode or airplane mode," a notification by Aviation Ministry, dated February 21, read.
"Provided that the Director-General shall certify the aircraft for usage of internet service in flight through Wi-Fi on board subject to the procedures as specified in this behalf," it further read
For the purposes of this rule, 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," explained an official.
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.
While the domestic flights did not have Wi-Fi on board, foreign airlines too had to switch off 'in-flight connectivity via WiFi' once they entered the Indian airspace.