Air India To Further Expand US Network

Credit: Markus Mainka / Alamy Stock Photo

Air India has confirmed the addition of two new US routes from Mumbai (BOM) as nonstop capacity between India and North America continues to rise.

The Star Alliance member will begin flying to San Francisco (SFO) from Dec. 15, operating three times per week. The route will become the airline’s third to the US city alongside its 10X-weekly Delhi (DEL) operation and 3X-weekly service from Bengaluru (BLR), which resumes on Dec. 2.

Reservations have also opened for daily flights from Mumbai to New York John F Kennedy (JFK), commencing on Feb. 14, 2023. This will be offered alongside its existing 3X-weekly service to Newark Liberty (EWR).

In September, the Tata Group-owned carrier agreed to lease 30 new aircraft to boost domestic and international operations over the next 15 months. The order included five Boeing 777-200LRs to be delivered between December 2022 and March 2023, as well as 21 Airbus A320neos and four A321neos. Both the new San Francisco and New York JFK routes will use 777-200LR aircraft.

In the Mumbai-San Francisco market, Air India will become the sole operator of nonstop flights. Sabre Market Intelligence data shows that O&D traffic between the destinations totaled some 138,090 two-way passengers in 2019, all of whom traveled indirectly. This equates to about 189 passengers per day each way.

The biggest one-stop connecting markets were Dubai (DXB) and Hong Kong (HKG), accounting for 19% and 17.8% of the traffic respectively. Beijing Capital (PEK) was the third largest with 7.8%.

Between Mumbai and New York, Air India’s exiting Newark service is currently the only nonstop route in operation. The addition of JFK will increase the number of round trips between the cities to 10 per week and the number of available two-way seats from 2,052 to 5,384.

On March 26, fellow Star Alliance member United Airlines is also scheduled to begin a Newark-Mumbai service, which will be daily onboard 787-9s. This will add a further 3,598 two-way weekly seats to the market.

Air India is no stranger to the Mumbai-New York JFK sector having previously operated the roue between December 2018 and March 2019. Delta Air Lines also began a JFK-BOM service in December 2019, but flights were suspended in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic and are yet to return.

OAG data shows that Air India will offer 11 India-North America routes during the northern winter 2022/23 season and approximately 685,698 two-way seats. This compares with six routes and 475,520 seats in the 2019/20 winter season.

Overall, nonstop capacity is scheduled to be 1.05 million two-way seats in winter 2022/23, up from 1.02 million three years ago. Star Alliance members Air India, Air Canada and United have a combined 91.5% share of the market.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.