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Delta to connect Atlanta or New York to Mumbai

Delta Air Lines will connect either its Atlanta or New York John F Kennedy hubs to Mumbai in 2019, says chief executive Ed Bastian.

The SkyTeam Alliance carrier announced in May that it would return to Mumbai in 2019 after a four-year hiatus but did not specify a gateway beyond saying it would be on the US East Coast.

Delta will codeshare with Jet Airways over Mumbai, providing passengers with onward connections to destinations across India and Southeast Asia, says Bastian speaking at the National Press Club in Washington DC today.

"On a one-stop basis out of either Atlanta or JFK, you'll be able to go to many many points across Southeast Asia," he says.

Delta and Jet Airways already codeshare across the Atlantic and between Europe and India.

Delta ended service to Mumbai via Amsterdam in 2015 due to competitive pressures. The move came shortly before Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines launched a public complaint alleging that the Gulf carriers received billions of dollars in subsidies, enabling them, thanks to open skies agreements, to dump capacity in the US market.

The rapid capacity growth by Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways directly targetted the US-India market, for which the Gulf is an ideally located connecting point.

The US government and those of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates reached separate agreements to settle the subsidy dispute earlier this year.

The new Mumbai route comes as Delta plans to expand its international services. Long-term, the airline aims to grow international revenues to "rival" domestic on its balance sheet, says Bastian.

Delta generated only 29.3% of its $34.8 billion in passenger revenue from international flying in 2017, the balance coming from domestic.

"I think the greatest amount of growth is international," says Bastian.

Delta could fly its Airbus A350-900s or Boeing 777-200LRs between either Atlanta or New York JFK and Mumbai. Both aircraft are capable of flying the routes. Mumbai is 7,395nm from Atlanta and 6,777nm from JFK, Great Circle Mapper shows.

No airlines fly between either Atlanta or New York JFK and Mumbai, FlightGlobal schedules data shows. However, both Air India and United Airlines fly from Newark Liberty, which also serves New York City, to Mumbai.

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