Logistics

Jet Airways launches WiFi streaming service

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on September 02, 2016

bl02_wifi in flight

JetScreen will be available on 6 domestic Boeing 737 flights and in its 75 aircraft by March

At 30,000 feet while flying between Chennai and Delhi, there is not much anyone can do other than stare out into the blue horizon or sleep. Not any more. Indian airline companies are now looking to make domestic flying a little more entertaining.

For example, passengers flying Jet Airways on domestic route will now get to access onboard movies, music and games on their personal devices by connecting to onboard WiFi.

Termed JetScreen, Jet Airways’ new in-flight entertainment service will now be available on six domestic Boeing 737 flights to begin with include Delhi-Mumbai routes and will be available across its 75 aircraft by March 2017.

While free WiFi may sound like free internet to most, the service only lets you connect to an onboard server using WiFi post. Current regulations by the DGCA does not allow airlines to offer Internet services in Indian skies.

In-flight internet services have become more of a standard option in most international airlines with as many as 36 airlines already offering it, Indian carriers so far have stayed away from the offering because of regulatory hurdles.

High maintenance

In March last year, Tata’s full fare airline Vistara announced a similar service on its flights wherein passengers could access a specially designed entertainment portal on their mobile phones. However, the airline has not gone beyond enabling it on just one aircraft in more than a year. Experts believe that the cost of hardware, content licensing as well as maintenance cost make such services expensive.

Jet’s move to launch WiFi streaming service across its entire domestic fleet could force Vistara, which tries to position itself above others in terms of services offered to extend the WiFi streaming to its entire fleet as well.

Sanjiv Kapoor, former SpiceJet Chief Operating Officer and now Vistara's Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, has on several occasions pointed out the importance of on-board WiFi services.

If SpiceJet starts offering WiFi services on board, the pressure will be on IndiGo which for long has resisted the need for any in-flight entertainment options. “Our in-flight entertainment is our Hello 6E magazine,” IndiGo CEO Aditya Ghosh told BusinessLine in a previous interview.

Premium paid content

Jet Airways is hoping it will be able to manage the cost of operating these offerings through sponsored content, premium paid content and advertisements.

“We would explore premium paid content for our in-flight entertainment system in the long term future. However, we already have partnership for advertising on the platform,” Colin Neubronner, Senior Vice-President - Sales & Marketing - Jet Airways, told BusinessLine.

Over 220 hours of video and audio content such as leading Hollywood and Indian movies, TV shorts, music from multiple genres, interactive games, as well as special children’s programmes will be available directly on the mobile phones, tablets and laptops of flyers.

Content on the go

The introduction of streaming is the first step in Jet Airways’ plan to eventually transform its in-flight entertainment experience into a fully-fledged, broadband-enabled WiFi connectivity (subject to regulatory approvals), which will allow passengers to use a range of services such as internet surfing, e-mail, social media, connecting flight information, instant messaging, real time travel services and destination deals.

This is in line with the government’s vision to provide enhanced connectivity to citizens and make India digitally empowered.

“Streaming of content on personal devices has become extremely popular globally, and we are confident that this initiative, will appeal to all our guests especially the millennials who prefer to access content on the move,” said Gaurang Shetty, Whole-time Director, Jet Airways.

In addition, guests will also be able to experience a highly immersive 3D flight tracker, and access a wide range of destination-related information.

Jet Airways aims to provide digital connectivity (subject to regulatory approvals) onboard its flights and the introduction of wireless streaming is the first step in that direction.

Correction

The news report has been edited for a factual error. Sanjiv Kapoor is former Chief Operating Officer of SpiceJet, not COO as an earlier version said. Kapoor is the Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer of Vistara.

Published on September 02, 2016
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