As more airlines roll out in-flight internet and regulators loosen rules governing wireless devices on planes, one country is a holdout in continuing to prohibit passengers from using Wi-Fi on board: India.
Home to the fastest-growing major air-travel market and a galloping economy, India hasn’t consented to the use of onboard Wi-Fi in its airspace due to security concerns.
Carriers including Emirates Airline, Jet Airways (India) Ltd. and Indian associates of Singapore Airlines and Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd. say they are eager to offer Wi-Fi if only the government would allow it. Some have been lobbying New Delhi to change the law, according to aviation and tech industry executives.
Some Indian officials have indicated recently that they wish to lift the ban, and suggested such a move isn’t far off, but a deal has yet to materialize.
For travelers, the lack of Wi-Fi is an inconvenience as more passengers—and their bosses—come to expect connectivity at 30,000 feet. A global survey of some 7,300 passengers by the International Air Transport Association last year found 36% were willing to pay for in-flight internet.
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