The WiFi-based entertainment will be deployed in the entire fleet including Airbus A319, Boeing 777, Airbus A321, Airbus A320, Boeing 787, Air India said in the tender inviting bids from original equipment manufacturers or proprietary solutions providers for wireless streaming.
National carrier Air India is set to enhance its in-flight entertainment (IFE) quotient with WiFi-based system for customers across its entire fleet instead of seatback screens. The WiFi-based IFE will be deployed in the entire fleet including Airbus A319, Boeing 777, Airbus A321, Airbus A320, Boeing 787, Air India said in the tender inviting bids from original equipment manufacturers or proprietary solutions providers for wireless streaming, The Indian Express reported.
However, there is no clarity if Air India will remove IFE seatback screens equipped on the airline’s wide-bodied aircraft including Boeing 777s and Boeing 787s.
Air India had last year planned to buy 100 iPads for better entertainment and cut down on poor customer experiences due to faulty seatback screens. The airline had also thought of replacing the dysfunctional IFE screens while planning to buy iPads but since it turned out to be an expensive proposition, the airline had moved away from the plan, according to an official cited by The Indian Express.
The existing seatback screens in 777s and 787s are manufactured by French multinational company Thales Group that designs and makes electrical systems for various markets including aerospace.
While Air India is moving towards WiFi-based IFE, budget carriers such as SpiceJet has been offering inflight entertainment in the sky through WiFi to their customers. Jet Airways too offered the service to its flyers.
However, Air India is also looking at other ways such as repairing and refurbishing the seats of three of its Boeing 777-200LR and 12 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to boost its international customer experience.
While the Boeing 777-200LR has eight first-class seats, 35 business class, and 195 economy class seats, the Boeing 777-300ER is fitted with four first-class seats, 35 business class, and 306 economy class seats.
Air India has 127 aircraft and only Indian carrier that operates on long international routes such as to Europe and the US after Jet Airways was grounded recently.