Air India will open a new chapter in its 75-year history this week with the launch of non-stop flights between India and the USA.
The carrier took delivery of its first ultra long-range Boeing 777-200LR on 26 July and will begin operating non-stops on the New York-Mumbai route on 1 August.
Below is the aircraft in Air India’s new livery, which combines its current colour scheme with the colours of Indian Airlines. The two carriers are now in the process of merging.
The new non-stop flight to New York gives Air India passengers a much welcome alternative to London Heathrow, where long security queues and new security regulations make connecting there dreadful. Air India for decades has served New York via London with Boeing 747-400s that are now 11 to 17 years old. The new 777s should be well received by the carrier’s business and first class passengers. For more information on the 23in wide first class and 19.5in wide business class seats click here.
Air India plans to launch several more non-stop routes between India and North America as it takes delivery of seven additional 777-200LRs and 15 777-200ERs.
Delta Air Lines is now the only carrier with non-stops between New York and Mumbai. But Continental Airlines, which has been operating non-stops from Newark to Delhi since 2005, will launch flights from Newark to Mumbai in October. American is also in now in the US-India non-stop market with flights from its Chicago hub to Delhi.
Air India is the first Indian carrier with non-stops between the USA and India but soon it will be joined by two other Indian carriers. Kingfisher Airlines plans to launch its own non-stops to US cities next year after it takes delivery of its first of at least 10 Airbus A340-500s. Jet Airways, which is launching flights in August to Newark via Brussels with 777-300ERs, also plans to later operate non-stops.
Six carriers in one market may sound like a lot of competition, but the India-US market is booming and the additional capacity is long overdue.