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1 Dec, 2016

Chinese low-cost airlines plan WiFi revolution

Beijing, CRIENGLISH.com – 2016-11-29 — There are many things that air passengers on low cost airlines are happy to do without, but it looks like in-flight WiFi isn’t one of them.

Spring Airlines, Lucky Air, and another low-cost airline 9 Air, have announced they plan to make WiFi available on their flights, reports China.com.cn.

Speaking at the 2016 Civil Aviation Communications Summit, Ji Guangping, the president of 9 Air says people now expect to use their smartphones on board planes in the future in China, and 9 Air is working on ways to provide that facility.

Low-cost airlines keep fares low by cutting out free food and drink during flights, and making them available at an extra cost.

More and more traditional airlines, however, are now offering WiFi on board as standard, and low cost carriers have to take notice.

In April 2015, Spring Airline set up Local Area Network (LAN), which made it possible to chat with other passengers on-board, but they have yet to find a way of making it possible to create a connection between the plane and the land. Lucky Air is working on the same problem. Now also 9 Air is joining the battle.

Chen Kaiyong, assistant manager in the marketing department of Lucky Air says providing WiFi the plane actually works on many levels. “The principal purpose of WiFi is to provide more entertainment to passengers on the plane, but in collaboration with third party enterprises it can increase income for the company.” Chen said.

9 Air says how much it would cost to use WiFi in the air is still under discussion. On Virgin America for example, passengers pay 4.99 USD per hour to use WiFi.

Professor Li Xiaojin from the Civil Aviation University of China says although smartphones can be used on many airlines overseas, China has paid more attention to safety. He suggests that potential problems need to be addressed before smartphones can be used on planes.