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Delta returns to India; to fly non-stop between New York, Mumbai

May 02, 2019 16:12 IST

Delta said the airline will operate a Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft with a three-class configuration on the route and will offer passengers wi-fi connectivity and free mobile messaging.

US carrier Delta has announced a non-stop flight between New York and Mumbai from December 22.

Air India too, is considering a second service between Delhi and New York in the winter schedule.

Currently, Air India and United operate non-stop flights between India and the US and the route is dominated by carriers from West Asia and Europe, which control over 70 per cent of the market share.

 

Over 5 million passengers flew between the two countries in FY19.

Air India operates 33 weekly flights to the US and is planning to expand its service.

“Our US routes are doing well and we are considering a second service between Delhi and New York from October,” Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani said.

Delta said the airline will operate a Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft with a three-class configuration on the route and will offer passengers wi-fi connectivity and free mobile messaging.

Delta, which has been targeting Gulf carriers for unfair government subsidies, said the new service would not have been possible without US government efforts to ensure free competition.

Airlines from West Asia control around 40 per cent of India-US traffic.

Delta had stopped flying to India in 2009 three years after launching its service.

Delta has a strong commercial partnership with Jet Airways, which suspended operations last month.

The grounding has created capacity reduction on westbound routes from India.

“The decision to start non-stop service to India appears to have been further strengthened post Jet shutdown,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of aviation consultancy CAPA.

Jet flew to London, Paris, and Amsterdam, offering onward connections to US on Delta and Air France-KLM.

On the Mumbai-London route alone, Jet had over 50 per cent of the capacity.

Airlines are also cashing on rise in demand. United has already announced a winter seasonal service between San Francisco and Delhi from December 5.

“We are excited about the prospects of growth opportunities in the India-US market.

"This market has grown nearly 60 per cent in the past 10 years and is one of US’s largest international travel markets with over 7,000 passengers each day travelling between two countries,” Delta said.

Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Aneesh Phadnis in Mumbai
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