Trade association Assocham has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior ministers to allow satellite-based in-flight connectivity (IFC) in aircrafts flying over the Indian space, both for domestic and foreign airlines.

In its letter, the group said that aside from increased safety, IFC would also enable passengers to stay connected even when they are mid-air.

Assocham said recent customer surveys suggest that travellers expect to stay connected via their smart devices and laptops even while flying. According to the group, majority of travellers want IFC and, in fact, choose an airline based on broadband availability. Currently, there are 72 airlines that have already installed or announced plans to install passenger connectivity system on board. In addition, the number of connected commercial aircrafts is also increasing rapidly, thanks to satellite high speed internet.

A large number of countries and airlines have already operationalised in-flight connectivity. Even Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal have permitted IFC in planes flying over their territory while India is yet to take any decision. “As a result each time an aircraft equipped with IFC enters Indian air space, it is forced to switch off the service to the passengers till it passes the Indian skies, causing hardship to the passengers,” noted the chamber letter signed by Assocham Secretary General Mr D S Rawat.