Air India puts Los Angeles flight on hold

Air India, the biggest International Carrier from India, has been laying down plans to get even bigger by the day. Even though the US operations of the airline have been loss-making in the past, it is hoping that they will be able to charge the non-stop premium to India and bypass the transition via the middle-east.

Air India launched Delhi – San Francisco 3 times a week in December 2015 and then doubled frequency to 6 times a week in November 2016. They started a fifth freedom flight between London and Newark, by launching an Ahmedabad – London – Newark flightThey launched flights to Madrid as well in December 2016 and took over the Delhi – Vienna flights from Austrian. I’d say that is a spectacular show given they are going in all directions.

We earlier wrote about the Air India flight to Washington DC from Delhi. This went live on 7 July 2017 as well and is operating 3 times a week as of now. Next, in line, the launches to Stockholm & Copenhagen, have also completed and they are operating normally there.

Air India was planning to launch operations to Los Angeles by the end of this year. Their initial timeline was September, and then it moved forward. At that point, AI said,

The new flight, AI-105/AI-106, will be operated with a Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft, the dates for which are expected to be announced soon, a senior Air India official said.

The new flight is a part of the winter schedule and it may take off any time between late October and early November.

That timeline also came and went. Now, as per the Indian Express,

The state-owned Air India has put on hold the launch of its much-talked-about flight service to Los Angeles from New Delhi, announced earlier this year.

It turns out there are many issues at hand. Air India does not have the planes to operate these flights in the first place. Something I touched upon even in my previous post about this. They are due to be delivered between January and March 2018, so Air India cannot start a new flight without these planes being on them.

The other issue on hand is the slots that Los Angeles offered them. Air India states that the slot(s) offered to them would have meant their plane being on the ground for a long period of time on LAX.

Of course, we will see how this plays out for them in the summer schedule or this could also be a way to politely put shift some of the reasoning for none operation of the flight to the airport and deflect attention from the fact that they did not have the resources to operate the flight in the first place.

Bottomline

I definitely see this flight happening in the future when the airline has the resources to operate it. The airline has three new 77Ws coming in next quarter onwards and this route fits the bill to fly a 77W. Whether it would be successful or not is a different ball game.

We’ll see how that goes. I’ll wait to be able to spot an AI 777 from In-And-Out LAX!

(HT: Karan Patel)

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