Air India to increase non-stop flights to USA as Gulf carrier ban bites

Air India is hitting the heights with an increase in its share of business travellers as well as USA-bound incentive travel. India’s national carrier has announced that they will operate to six new destinations, three of which are in the United States – Washington DC, Los Angeles and Dallas. The other three services will commence to Stockholm, Tel Aviv and Nairobi.

The new flights will begin one by one from July through September this year. Air India is witnessing a surge in demand for its North America flights after the USA government banned passengers on Gulf carriers – which had the overwhelming share of traffic on India-USA routes – from carrying electronics gadgets larger than a mobile phone on the aircraft. The airline is targeting the USA market aggressively through its nonstop services. To reduce fuel cost, it now flies to the West Cast over the Pacific and returns to India over the Atlantic to avoid headwind and get the benefit of tail winds.

Air India already has a daily flight to three US cities — Mumbai-Newark; Delhi-New York and Delhi-Chicago — apart from six times a week on the very popular Delhi-San Francisco sector. Apart from Washington DC, Los Angeles and Dallas, it is said to be looking at several other American destinations. It also has a one-stop flight on the Ahmedabad-London-New York route.

An airline official said: “There is huge demand for travel between India and the West Coast of USA. We are looking at thrice a week nonstop between Delhi and Los Angeles to begin with. The plan for Stockholm is of a similar frequency and a non-stop Washington DC service will also start as three times a week. Our non-stop product is being increasingly chosen by flyers as they want to travel direct (between India and USA).”

Among American carriers, United is the only one that flies direct but has only two daily flights from Newark to Delhi and Mumbai. Air India is the only Indian carrier that flies to the USA.