Air India is considering starting a direct flight to Washington as well as serving new cities in the US soon after it launches its services to San Francisco next month. The national carrier already operates non-stop flights to three US cities — New York, Newark and Chicago.
“I have been informed by Air India that it is considering a direct flight to Washington,” Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has said.
He was speaking on Friday at a function organised by Air India prior to the launch of its direct flight to San Francisco from December 2. According to a senior official at Air India, apart from direct services to Washington, the carrier would be looking at the feasibility of connecting more number of cities in the US from various places in India.
The official said the launch flight, both to and from San Francisco in California, has already been sold out and the demand was “tremendous”. Air India used to serve Washington via New York, but the service was discontinued a few years ago. The carrier also had flights to Los Angeles in California, which was discontinued before the merger of Indian Airlines with Air India in 2011.
The non-stop Delhi-San Francisco flight, starting services from December 2, will be one of the longest with duration of close to 17 hours. Air India will operate B77-200LR plane to San Francisco — the Silicon Valley hub.
“This new flight will be a boon for the Indian diaspora in the US West Coast, making travel easy and convenient for students,” the carrier said in a release.The flight to San Francisco will leave Delhi on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday while the return service will be on Thursday, Saturday and Monday. With a three-cabin configuration, the flight will have eight seats in first class, 35 in business and 195 in economy.
Passengers from IT hubs of Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Ahmedabad and Pune will have seamless connection to the flight from Delhi, Air India said.
“The return flight from San Francisco will provide onward connections to cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Pune and Bhubaneswar,” the release said.
Air India has flights to 34 international destinations spread across the US, Europe, Far-East and South-East, and the Gulf.