American Airlines last flew to India in 2012. They shut down their Boeing 777 operated Chicago – Delhi flight while they were restructuring. Since the past years, there has been a buzz around American Airlines coming back to the Indian market. Everyone wants a piece of the Indian market, no one, though, has a clue of how to get here. The market is crowded big time by the Middle-East airlines, Air India non-stops, but United has been doing a good job operating non-stops to Mumbai and Delhi from Newark for years now, adding the West Coast SFO flights recently. Delta, which exited the Indian market operations by closing their flights via Amsterdam also launched a Mumbai – New York JFK direct flight in December 2019.
In the light of the India/East Coast and India/West Coast markets already being occupied by Air India and Delta/United, American Airlines had to find a new market to launch an India route. After talking about India for a long time, American Airlines has announced today that they will be launching a non-stop flight between Bengaluru and Seattle as of October 2020. The fillip to this route will be given by the alliance between Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, who will come back together after having planned to go their separate ways on March 1, 2020.
American will launch the first service from Seattle (SEA) to Bangalore, India (BLR) beginning October 2020. A new American route from SEA to the global business hub London Heathrow (LHR) will start flying in March 2021. Seattle’s first-ever direct flight to BLR will be available for purchase later in February 2020.
Bangalore will be the first route for American Airlines from Seattle, and London Heathrow – Seattle is a market already served by twice-daily flights between LHR/SEA on British Airways.
“Beginning West Coast international service from Seattle will complement American’s strong existing international network from LAX,” said Vasu Raja, American’s Senior Vice President, Network Strategy. “India is a grossly underserved market, despite the number of businesses with a major presence in both India and the West Coast. By adding Seattle to Bangalore, we’re giving customers from more than 70 U.S. cities access to India in one stop or less — versus the two, three or four stops they’d have to make to get there in the past.”
Bangalore – Seattle is a city pair that makes a lot of sense. Seattle is the home of Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing, each of which has considerable operations in India, and a lot of it housed out of Bangalore. The numbers on the route are very attractive, as per a close personal source of mine at British Airways, which offers some of the best connections on this route at the moment.
American’s Senior Vice President of Network Planning, Vasu Raja said, “Seattle – Bangalore is the only U.S. market American can truly make work with a reasonable payload.” This statement comes in the light of the fact that the airline is planning to fly a 787-9 to India, and there is a range/restrictions payoff to be tossed into the mix as well.
Regardless, this is excellent news for corporates who would most probably be crowding out this flight the most of the 30 seats on this route.
What do you make out of the new route launch for American Airlines between Seattle and Bengaluru?