New Delhi: Air India is considering to provide onboard WiFi on wide-body aircraft that fly medium to long haul international routes like those to US, Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia. AI chairman Pradeep Singh Kharola on Wednesday said the airline is in talks with service providers for this and a final call will be taken after the financial implications of the same have been determined.
AI is focussing on revamping its wide-body aircraft, especially the Boeing 777 that fly to the US. This is one sector where AI can capitalise as it is the only Indian carrier that flies nonstop to American destinations like San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Washington. Among US carriers, United has a daily direct from Newark to Delhi and Mumbai each. While travellers favour the AI nonstop, their biggest grouse is the significant number of nonfunctional behind-the-seat in-flight entertainment (IFE) screens — a necessity to survive long flights. The airline is planning to enhance the frequency of its popular US non-stops.
“We have drawn up a list of IFEs that need to be replaced and repaired as part of our plan to revamp the aircraft interior in general and business class in particular,” said Kharola. As a back-up, AI will acquire over 100 iPads for being given to business class passengers on ultra long haul flights whose IFE screens are not working. Blank screens on Boeing 777s deployed for direct flights to the US, ranging from 17 hours for Delhi-San Francisco to 14 hours for Delhi-New York, are one of the biggest sore points for flyers.
09/01/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India