onboard wifi
A man uses his laptop while on a special JetBlue media flight out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.Reuters

Flyers will soon get to access data services during flights as the country's telecoms operator is all set to allow airlines to offer Wi-Fi services in the Indian airspace.

The Telecom Commission, the highest decision-making body at Indian government's department of telecommunications (DoT), is set to approve the much-awaited proposal at its next meeting scheduled on May 1, Mint reported on Thursday.

The Telecom Commission was contacted and we are awaiting their response to the report.

As soon as DoT approves the plan, airlines would be free to offer Wi-Fi services to passengers. Moreover, the pricing would be left to airlines, a DoT official told Mint, adding that the DoT would sign a license contract with the particular provider.

The approval will allow airlines to cash in on the latent demand for Wi-Fi connectivity that they have been seeing in India as passengers are increasingly looking to stay connected during their flights.

Providing Wi-Fi on board is a good source of ancillary revenue for the airline industry, and this is one segment that airlines are increasingly looking at to add to their profits.

IndiGo saw a 20.9 percent jump in its ancillary revenues at Rs 762 crore in the third-quarter of 2017 when compared to the same period the previous year. Similarly, Jet Airways in its 2017 annual report, said that its ancillary revenues had increased by 4.2 percent in fiscal 2017 when compared to last year.

The regulator had also recommended that internet services through in-flight Wi-Fi should be made available when electronic devices are permitted to be used, only in-flight or airplane mode and an announcement regarding this should be made after boarding is completed and the aircraft is about to taxi, according to the Mint report.