National carrier Air India started accepting reservation for its non-stop flights to Washington from its hub and Indian Capital New Delhi to be operated by the B777-200LR aircraft. The flights will be effective 7th July 2017 and operate thrice a week with departures on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The airline had launched non-stop services to San Francisco in December 2015 with same days of operations. The flight to San Francisco is now 6x weekly.
This will be the airlines fifth destination in United States of America. The Star Alliance member operates to Newark, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Air India also operates 6x weekly flights between London and Newark.
Air India will replace B772LR on Delhi – London with B787 Dreamliner effective 5th July 2017 and utilize the aircraft for the new flight. The timings of the flight are as below.
AI103 DEL 0115 – 0715 IAD
AI104 IAD 1100 – 1030 DEL (+1)
Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) is not one of the top airports in USA by passengers but Washington Metropolitan area has third highest concentration of Indian population in USA behind New York and Chicago. The Air India B772LR comes in three class configuration comprising of 8 First Class Seats, 35 Business Class seats and 195 economy class seats. The airline currently has three B777-200LR in its fleet. The flight will connect both ways to Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Bengaluru and Pune. There is no clarity if the flight would extend to another metro like Kolkata, in line with existing flights to USA which extend to Hyderabad/Mumbai/Delhi.
The flight will strengthen the departure bank for Air India at New Delhi and hope expand its code share with Star Alliance members.
A slew of flights had been announced by Air India last month and they included international expansion to Washington, Copenhagen and Tel Aviv from Delhi. The airline had also made announcements for flights on Chandigarh – Bangkok and Chandigarh – Singapore sector along with second daily on Delhi – Bangkok. Fully owned subsidiary Alliance Air / Air India Regional is expected to launch flights to Dhaka, Kathmandu and Colombo from Kolkata, Lucknow and Madurai respectively. It needs to be seen if the Chandigarh flights will be operated by the A320neo or be moved to low cost subsidiary Air India Express.
Air India is launching codeshare partnership with Croatia Airlines to cover service between India & Croatia via multiple points in Europe. This code share partnership comes in effect from 1st April 2017.