Delta Air Lines to Resume Non-stop India-U.S. Flights

Delta Air Lines has announced non-stop flights from Mumbai, and intends to expand its partnership with Jet Airways to provide connections to other Indian destinations.


American carrier Delta Air Lines will resume its non-stop flight service between the United States and Mumbai from 2019, the company said on May 24. The airline had suspended its non-stop service between the two countries in 2009, citing lack of economic viability caused by government-subsidized Middle Eastern airlines such as Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad.

“It is exciting to be able to announce Delta’s return to India from the U.S. as part of our vision to expand Delta’s reach internationally,” the airline’s CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement. “We are thankful to the president for taking real action to enforce our Open Skies trade deals, which made this new service possible. We are looking forward to providing customers in the U.S. and India with Delta’s famously reliable, customer-focused service operated by the best employees in the industry,” he added.

While Delta has announced non-stop flights from Mumbai, the airline also said that it intends to expand its existing codeshare relationship with partner Jet Airways to provide seamless connections to other destinations within India. It will announce the details and full schedules later this year, the statement added. The service is subject to government approval.

The flights will begin next year and depart from either New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport or Delta’s home base at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, CNBC reported, adding that the airline has not made a final decision yet.

Delta’s announcement follows the clarification of the bilateral aviation agreement between the United States and the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to address the issue of government subsidies provided to state-owned carriers in those nations. Under the agreement, announced earlier this month, the UAE airlines Emirates and Etihad agreed to publish financial statements in accordance with international accounting standards. The United States made a similar agreement in January this year with state-owned Qatar Airways.

Delta, American and United were the three U.S. carriers that had held that the subsidies were unfair. United Airlines is currently the only U.S. carrier that flies nonstop to India from America. Delta made an exit from the India market, claiming that the government subsidies made it possible for the Middle Eastern carriers to offer lucrative fares for India-U.S. flights, thus making it difficult to compete in the sector.

Delta’s announcement follows the recent move by Iceland’s Wow Air to launch its services from Delhi to multiple destinations in North America and Europe via the country’s capital Reykjavik from December 2018.

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