Air India planning Delhi–Washington DC?

A few days ago, I wrote about the international expansion plans of Jet Airways, now that they are in a comfortable financial position again. It seems we may have some information about what are the plans at Air India as well. Although some of this is chatter, and some has been said before. Just as a recap, Air India recently launched a 3x per week flight to Vienna, to take over the flight that Austrian ceased to operate to Delhi.


From then to now, many a new routes have made the noise on the Air India side of things as well. We already know that within 2 months or so, Air India will start a London to Newark flight with fifth freedom rights using a Boeing 787-800 plane. I am still to write about it. But there is more in the air:

  • Delhi to Spain:There is a lot of chatter that AI will announce a flight to Spain soon (Madrid and/or Barcelona are being considered?), and the flight will happen next year. The airline’s commercial director has already boasted about this in the press, so it must be a matter of time before this happens. I expect this to be a single flight flying between both the destinations, just like Air India makes it happen in the case of their Australia and Italy flights. But it could also be just one destination rather than both.
  • Delhi to Washington DC: This one almost seems like a done deal, but I’m surprised they did not announce this on the current trip of the Indian PM to Washington DC.  Air India used to operate Delhi to Washington DC via New York earlier.
  • Delhi to Denmark/Sweden?: As per this news report, Air India is also considering entering the Nordic spaces with a flight to Copenhagen or Stockholm sometime in 2017.

I am hoping I am not missing out on any routes in the plans at the moment.

What do you guys think of this new International expansion of Air India. I sure do hope they stay profitable after all these routes…

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. SFO-DEL has a strong business market. I am not sure IAD-DEL will have a similar market that will provide high load factors all year round. AI should ideally look to code share with United and leverage their hub status at IAD. In any case, I think AI should really look to code share a lot more with United considering they fly to 3 of their biggest hubs.

  2. If you connect to an SK hub (STO/ARN is not really a hub), preferably CPH, then there would be some traffic from there.

    Denmark has become much more affluent and also their business have become global. However, it is a small country, so do not expect much origination traffic from CPH – although Southern Sweden uses CPH for travel.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t transit DEL for a flight to Denmark – would much prefer flying LH/LX than using AI…

    If SK flew direct BOM-CPH – that would be a real bonus and I would frequent that route all the time. They have some new awesome biz cabins!

  3. I believe AI do not fly between the 2 cities in Australia/Italy anymore. No more SYD-MEL or FCO-MXP 5th freedom flights.
    They now just fly one destination 4x weekly and the other 3x weekly.

    Regarding their last new US destination, SFO, that flight is doing supremely well in terms of Load Factors, even with premium classes. So its quite logical that IAD is high on their radar.

    Scandinavia is quite a left-field choice though. I do not know the volume between India and any of those countries. What I do find amusing that surely JNB sees better demand from India than any of Scandinavian cities, even with Rand being down. Shouldn’t that be a market to restart first?

    P.S.: 787-8, not -800. 😉

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