Last year, the score was settled between the United States and the Big 3 Middle East carriers, with the USA and UAE reaching an agreement on the Open Skies battle that lasted a long time. Qatar had already signed an agreement to this effect earlier. That meant they couldn’t hide behind their quibble with the ME3 anymore and had to put real routes to India on the table.
United had an uncompetitive product operating in the Indian market, which they changed over to Polaris. Similarly, Air India also has direct flights to Newark and New York JFK operating from Delhi/Mumbai.
American Airlines killed their Chicago Delhi flight in 2012 due to their reorganisation. Delta couldn’t make it work, so they withdrew from the market, first converting a non-stop between Mumbai and New York from their NorthWest Airlines times to a one-stop via Amsterdam, and then closing the flight in 2015 altogether. Jet Airways also killed their connections to the USA (first reducing from 2 flights to one flight by killing the JFK route, then killing the EWR flight next).
Delta inherited the route from Northwest and used to fly to Mumbai through 2016, via Amsterdam. They closed this route blaming the middle east carriers for making it uncompetitive for them. Last year, with their close cooperation with Jet Airways, this new route became a possibility for the airline going forward, with 9W supplying traffic into the Mumbai hub. Delta made an announcement about launching a flight in 2019 to Mumbai, however, did not announce where would they launch the flight from, Atlanta or JFK.
A lot has changed since then. Jet Airways is no more. There is the Pakistan airspace blockade which makes usual non-stop flights go one-stop these days. United has suspended its flight to Delhi as a consequence.
In the midst of all these, exactly one year after the announcement from Delta confirming the launch of flights to Mumbai, now comes the announcement on the date.
Delta will launch service connecting New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport with Mumbai beginning December 22, 2019. Delta states the reason to choose New York as it is the largest American market to India with the largest base of corporate customers.
While a lot of guesswork went about in the choice of equipment, given they had the potential to fly an A350 to Mumbai, Delta will fly a newly-renovated Boeing 777-200LR aircraft on the route, which will have the Delta One Suite, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort + and Main Cabin options for customers.
Not just that, customers will be able to get wifi connectivity via Gogo and access to free mobile messaging while on board through iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
We still don’t have the flight number, but Delta will fly through the night to get you to India, and on the way back as well take off in the middle of the night to get you into JFK by early morning.
DL JFK2115 – 2250(+1)BOM 77L
DL BOM0050 – 0635JFK 77L
This is good news for Mumbai and New York, but it totally beats me that Delta has no longer mentioned how they intend to get connecting traffic for this flight from Mumbai, given the imminent demise of Jet Airways. Delta does not comment in their press release about this important issue.
Delta is going headlong into a market which already has 3 non-stop flights (Mumbai – New York JFK on Air India, Mumbai – Newark on United), and has its work cut out for this non-stop flight.
What do you think of the launch of the new Delta Mumbai to New York flights at the end of the year?