Travel industry observers have welcomed the Indian telecom regulator’s recommendation to allow both Internet access and mobile phone calls on board aircraft in Indian airspace. “It is a progressive move and good for today’s travellers who want to be connected all the time,” Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C) with Yatra.com told IANS. “Also brings India in line with the more developed markets where it has been in existence for a while now. The airlines will have to make significant investment of time and resources for this to get implemented so it may take a while for it to actually come into use.” According to independent aviation expert Amrit Pandurangi, the move is a step in the right direction, “but as usual with poor civic sense amongst passengers, this will result in disturbance and nuisance to co-passengers”. As per TRAI’s recommendation, phone calls can be made or received and Internet services can be accessed beyond 3,000 metres. The height restriction is placed to avoided accessing the terrestrial mobile networks.
Further, TRAI said to promote the adoption of in-flight connectivity, IFC service providers should be allowed to be set up at a flat annual token licence fee of Re 1. In addition, the framework recommended for IFC services in Indian airspace should be made applicable to all types of aircrafts such as commercial airlines, business jets and executive aircrafts.