American Airlines finally set to start direct non-stop flight to India


As a long-overdue, American Airlines has finally decided to connect with India with a non-stop flight from New York’s JFK to New Delhi’s Indra Gandhi International (IGI) Airport.

As of now, American Airlines is the only US major airline that still does not have a presence in the Indian market.

Earlier, the airline had plans of starting a Bengaluru-Seattle route which was to be launched last winter, however, the pandemic had spoiled that plan.

Even now, the airlines are taking cautious steps, as the rise in the spread has been staggering in the last few months. To be sure, these plans depend on how the pandemic situation pans out in the coming months.

“Beginning October 31, American will launch nonstop service from New York (JFK) to New Delhi on a Boeing 777-200 to meet the strong local demand. With its Qatar Airways partnership and previously announced Seattle to Bengaluru, American will offer customers more ways to fly between the US and India… Flights to Delhi will connect customers to India’s capital three times per week, and then daily during the holiday peak from November 17 to January 3,” American Airlines said in a statement

American’s chief revenue officer Vasu Raja said: “Our global partnerships are designed to grow our network to benefit our customers, team members, and investors. Since the inception of our partnership with JetBlue, we have committed to offering customers more flights, more destinations and a better experience when traveling.”

Among the big three US carriers, United is the only one currently flying —to India and adding routes here. It operates direct between Mumbai and Delhi and New York; Delhi to San Francisco and Chicago; and will start Bengaluru-San Francisco from May 6. Delta used to fly to Mumbai till last March but is yet to resume those flights under the India-US air bubble.

Air India is the only Indian carrier that currently flies connects several Indian metros to North American destinations like New York (JFK and Newark), Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto with direct flights. Vistara of Tata Group — which is likely to acquire AI in a few months — is also eying nonstops to the east coast of North America.

The Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines (SIA) JV had in mid-2018 placed a firm order for six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, the first three of which have a range of flying nonstop to Europe, Fast East and Australia. It is learned that Vistara is likely to opt for the remaining three Dreamliners with “overhead flight crew rest” (OFCR) option that will have a bunk for crew members. This will enable the airline to fly nonstop to north coast destinations like New York, Washington and Toronto with two sets of crew operating aircraft by turn.

The US is one of the most important markets for Indian carriers and Covid has led to a preference among flyers to travel direct between the two countries instead of going via hubs in Europe, Gulf and SE Asia. This major shift will benefit carriers offering nonstops between India and North America.