Air India Is Launching Flights To Los Angeles And Dallas This Year

In December 2015, Air India launched a flight between Delhi and San Francisco, which is their furthest route yet. Then several months ago they doubled capacity on the route, as it has gone from operating 3x weekly to operating 6x weekly. Then in January Air India announced that they’d add a Delhi to Washington Dulles flight as of July 2017.

air-india-777

On top of that we’ve known that Air India wants to add more US routes. In April it was reported that Air India’s board approved a proposal to lease seven Boeing 787-9 aircraft, as a way of expanding service to North America. At the time, Air India said that they were considering flights to Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Vancouver, and Toronto.

It looks like those new routes aren’t just talk, but there may actually be substance to them. Air India’s chairman has announced that the airline plans on adding flights to Los Angeles as of September 1, 2017, and flights to Dallas later in 2017.

DEL-Routes

Per his Facebook page:

To washigton from 7th july, stockkholm from 15th august and los angeles from 1st september to be followed by tel aviv, dallas and nairobi sometime later during the year 2017 itself. Air india spreads its wings far and wide.

Facebook

As you can see, there are some other routes also on the radar. Delhi to Los Angeles would be Air India’s longest route, at over 8,000 miles, as it’s about 300 miles longer than their Delhi to San Francisco route.

I find the Delhi to Dallas route to be an interesting choice. While I get that Dallas has a sizable Indian population, Air India has limited connection opportunities in Dallas. Meanwhile Houston is at least a Star Alliance hub, so they’d have much better connectivity. So color me as surprised about that move, especially since the Indian populations of the two cities are only marginally different.

While Air India’s chairman seems like a good guy, I’ll wait until the flight schedules are published for these new flights before taking this as fact. I’ll also be curious to see what planes Air India uses for these routes. I believe Air India is short on 777s at this point, so I suspect at least one of these routes will be operated by a 787, unlike all their other nonstop flights between the US and India (the only 787 service to the US is on their Newark to London to Ahmedabad route).

Air-India-777-First-Class-2
Air India’s 777 first class

At the moment Air India has a competitive advantage compared to the Gulf carriers, given the electronics ban in place. Air India claims that bookings have doubled since the electronics ban went into effect, and they want to capitalize on that. However, with rumors of the electronics ban expanding, who knows how much longer they’ll have that advantage.

What do you make of Air India expanding to Los Angeles and Dallas?

(Tip of the hat to Live from a Lounge)

Comments

  1. Good lord! While new connections and options are awesome, those on AI are terrible at best.

  2. Agree with other comments above. Air India will do very well in DFW. We have a lot of tech companies involved with Indian companies, and the Indian population continues to grow as well.

  3. The icing on the cake would be Pre-immigration clearance in DEL in coming years as there would be at least 7-10 direct flights from DEL to USA. I always wonder how JED airport is getting pre-immigration clearance with just one flight to JFK.

  4. DFW shouldn’t surprise you. It’s not just the fact that there is a sizeable Indian population here, though that helps. There will be also be good O&D demand from business travelers, as there are a large number of companies in the DFW area that have a presence in India, much more so than Houston. The question is, can they provide a consistent service level so that people will be willing to fly them.

  5. The current Air India team is quite different from what was there prior to 2014. Let us just say that some of the apparently baffling decisions, particularly in dealing with Boeing, were not necessarily made with the interests of the Airline or the country — “pressure” from the aviation minister etc. But the current ministerial team is much more honest; in addition,the Chairman/Managing Director is much more willing to stand up to pressure. So it is not surprising that AI is improving, although there is a long way to go.

    Also, for economy, many would prefer AI over ME3 or other airlines given the much more generous pitch (33″ vs 31″).

  6. I am surprised no airline (besides AC from YYZ) is starting a BOM nonstop given all the DEL non-stops by AI. However, from what I remember BOM-JFK (7799 mi) would actually be longer than AI’s longest flight right now (DEL-SFO), and the economies of ULH drop considerably when above 7000 miles/15 hours.

  7. “Washigton” “stockkholm”

    Very professional post from the chairman, with simple destinations.

    Sums up their service quality…

  8. Dallas and Houston are the correct choice for AI destinations in the U.S. Both cities have massive Indian populations! The only U.S. city after launching to Dallas and Houston is probably Atlanta.

  9. Ram – “I always wonder how JED airport is getting pre-immigration clearance with just one flight to JFK.”

    Surely it’s because they’ve asked for it and are paying for it? It certainly helps that Saudi Arabia is also a strong ally while producing terrorists the US would want to keep out (better to fully screen people before the flight than after they’ve arrived).

  10. I am surprised that the chairman of an airline can’t spell Washington and Stockholm.

  11. They should have added Dallas before Los Angeles, even Chicago. So much Indian population that they feel home 🙂 I think highest Indian population is in NJ, SFO, Dallas, LA, Chicago, in that order. Writer wrong about connectivity too, Dallas is an airline hub too. I would fly AI, even with crappy service. Saves me a lot of time, with direct connection to my city from DEL.

  12. I will fly DFW-India or IAH-India without a fuss on AI. I live in Houston and today, to fly AI, I have to fly to ORD and catch the flight to DEL. I do this several times a year.

    I actually like AI inflight service. The airports in India like DEL and BOM have improved hugely since yester years.

  13. I would like AI to operate between Dallas-delhi-hyd ,as most of them are from Hyderabad.

  14. What stats do you go by when you say “I would like AI to operate between Dallas-delhi-hyd ,as most of them are from Hyderabad.”…. What about other bigger cities in the south like Banglore and Chennai?

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