Vistara yet to take a call on providing Wi-Fi on domestic routes

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018

Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO

Installing the service needs heavy investments: CEO Phee Teik Yeoh

Vistara is yet to take a final call on providing Wi-Fi services to passengers flying on domestic routes although it is keen to provide the service when it is allowed to fly on international routes. Vistara is the brand name of the airline jointly promoted by Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines.

Phee Teik Yeoh, Chief Executive Officer, Vistara, told BusinessLine that he had spoken to many corporates some of whom were even prepared to pay for the service, which was a good sign, as it is not cheap to install Wi-Fi.

“It is not something that you want to rush. Sometimes in product launches you do not want to have the first mover advantage. But it is a long-term commitment. We just want to be extra careful that it is something worthwhile doing for domestic flight. Internationally without a doubt,” Phee Teik said when asked if there was any time frame by which the service will be available.

The airline currently flies on domestic routes as it does not meet the government’s requirement of a fleet of at least 20 aircraft to fly overseas. Vistara expects to see its fleet grow to 20 aircraft by June 2018 although it has indicated that it could advance the date.

Phee Teik said the business case has to be evaluated very carefully as sometimes consumers may say they would like to have it (Wi-Fi) but may refuse to pay which would leave the airline saddled with a heavy investment that it cannot recoup.

Pointing out that there are two types of travellers, Phee Teik said that providing Wi-Fi is an option for fulfilling one segment of the travellers who say they always want to be connected. While there is another segment which says that ‘flying is my down time which I hardly get on the ground so whenever I fly this is the down time that I value’.

The Government is yet to allow Wi-Fi on board aircraft in the Indian skies. RN Choubey, Secretary, Civil Aviation, said the Government will change the rules soon to allow use of Wi-Fi in Indian airspace.

Published on September 19, 2016

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