American Airlines has been talking about resuming flights to India for a very long time. At this point, American Airlines will launch flights between New York JFK and New Delhi on October 31, 2021, and flights to Bengaluru from Seattle will start on January 4, 2022.
Today, American Airlines has cooperated with IndiGo, India’s largest airline by fleet and market share in India. American will place its code on 29 of India’s domestic routes in India, providing options for American Airlines customers to connect further on the carriers new flights arriving into Bengaluru and Delhi. The codeshare, which will require US and Indian governments’ approvals, is expected to begin in October 2021.
Here is all the access that will be opened up for American Airlines in India once IndiGo is on board.
While much amusement has been going around the interweb about the selection of a no-frills carrier, one look at the route tells us some of the probable reasons why IndiGo is the partner of choice for American, over Vistara or Air India. One of the things to keep in mind is that Air India is mostly in limbo right now, and even when it was not, they did not care much to develop revenue streams via codeshares, as their Star Alliance membership shows which they were not able to capitalise on. American Airlines partnered with Jet Airways for passengers’ flights beyond Delhi during its earlier innings in India.
Vistara already collaborates with other carriers, such as United from Delhi. However, one of the primary reasons it might be not in the picture is its limited operations out of Bengaluru, where IndiGo has large operations. Not just that, with the American Airlines flight scheduled to arrive at 0005 hours and depart at 0300 hours, it needed a partner who could bring and take customers from Bengaluru in the evening/early morning.
Questions have been raised about why would American’s customers fly a non-premium cabin. There are many reasons they should. First, American needs time to develop and mature this new route. So, it would like to have as many passengers on board, especially when aviation is just picking up again, so it makes sense to offer more people the connectivity opportunity to sell more tickets beyond the O&D traffic between Seattle and Bengaluru.
Secondly, domestic flights in India are not beyond 2-3 hours, and hence, one could do without a premium seat, as long as it got you to your eventual destination. Also, AA will offer miles for those flying on the codeshare. Customers travelling in American’s Flagship Business cabin on DEL–JFK or BLR–SEA will have access to IndiGo partner lounges in their originating city where they can relax, unwind and get hot food, beverages, Wi-Fi and more.
Vasu Raja, Chief Revenue Officer, American Airlines said, “We’re eager to add IndiGo as our trusted partner in India,” said. “Whether our customers are travelling for business or pleasure, this new partnership makes it easy to reach all four corners of India. Today we’re adding 29 new routes to our map as a result of this agreement, providing customers with even more options around the globe.”
Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer, IndiGo, said, “We are delighted to sign this codeshare agreement with one of the world’s largest and most reputed airlines. We are confident that this will be a strong partnership that will create many opportunities for trade and tourism through IndiGo’s seamless nationwide connectivity. We look forward to having American’s customers on our lean, clean flying machine, as we extend to them our on-time, affordable, courteous and hassle-free travel experience.”
American Airlines has signed up with IndiGo to be their codeshare partner for the Indian feed. This will allow American to connect with more stations across India and instantly adding 29 new routes to its network. On IndiGo’s part, they will serve the premium clientele with an enhanced offering on the ground.
What do you think of this partnership between IndiGo and American Airlines?
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