United to resume Delhi-NY flight, others begin ops as airspace opens
A day after Pakistan lifted restrictions on the use of its airspace by civilian planes, airlines have started resuming operations through this route, with some even announcing the launch of new flights to and from India.
The US-based United Airlines announced on Wednesday that it would resume two daily non-stop flights — between New York and Delhi, and New York and Mumbai — from September 6. The airline said it also plans to start a new service between San Francisco and Delhi in December this year.
“After reviewing and re-evaluating plans, our network operations and planning teams have determined that we will resume daily non-stop service between New York/Newark and Delhi and Mumbai on September 6, 2019 (eastbound). We are excited to get back to connecting our customers and employees between the US and India in September, and we’re looking forward to starting brand new service between San Francisco and Delhi in December,” said a United airlines spokesperson.
India’s largest airline in terms of market share, IndiGo, is likely to turn its one-stop Istanbul-Delhi flight into a non-stop one, and it has also announced new flights to Singapore and Bangkok from Mumbai. Air India is also likely to resume its Newark flight from Mumbai, and is expected to launch a few new flights as well.
Following the closure of Pakistan’s airspace, airlines have had to fly longer and spend more money on fuel and extra crew after bypassing the neighbouring country. Even passengers had to pay more towards air fares on international destinations.
“The closure of the airspace caused inconvenience to several air travellers with the increase in airfares. With the reopening of the Pakistan airspace, the flying hours will now be normalised and operations are expected to become seamless. We also expect that the airfares will become more affordable,” said Daniel D’souza, president and country head, Leisure at SOTC Travel.
Online travel agents have reported 35-40% dip in air fares after the restrictions were lifted.
IndiGo has also said that its flights operations via Pakistan will be back to normal after all regulatory clearances by authorities concerned.
“The reopening of Pakistan airspace for Indian flights is a welcome move that comes as a relief to both the aviation industry and air travellers. The temporary closure of Pakistan airspace has had a significant adverse impact via a surge in operating [fuel] costs for airlines and a burden on travellers via a cascading impact on airfares,” said Indiver Rastogi, president and group head of Thomas Cook India Limited.
“Resuming civil traffic on published ATS [air traffic service] routes will bring down flying time by providing shorter routes that overfly Pakistan airspace making operations viable and connectivity seamless for airlines from India... to Europe and the USA and vice versa,” he added.