In February 2019, Pakistan closed out their airspace to airlines around the world, with their tensions escalating with India. The consequence of this move was that commercial air traffic from across the world, including India, could not overfly the Pakistan air corridor leading to massive diversions. With troubles in the Iranian Airspace as well (for the American carriers), this translated to a massive headache for airlines operating between South Asia and Europe/North America.
While the former led to the cancellation of United’s Newark-Delhi flights and Air Canada’s Toronto-Delhi flights, the latter led to the cancellation of United’s Newark-Mumbai flights. On July 15, 2019, not anticipating any further developments, United further pushed them resuming flights to India to October 26, 2019. But with the Pakistan airspace now completely open from July 16, 2019, United has backtracked on its decision.
United will relaunch its flights to India from September 6, 2019. Mumbai – Newark will continue to be operated by a three-class 777-300ER whereas Delhi-Newark will continue to be operated by a two-class 777-200ER featuring the older business class cabin.
As of now, 27 out of 51 777-200ER feature Polaris business class seats and a premium economy cabin. United expects to complete the retrofit of its 777-200ER fleet by 2020. Hopefully, we will see a retrofitted 777-200ER on Delhi-Newark route soon. Vistara and United recently entered into a codeshare agreement.
Air Canada will resume its Delhi-Toronto flights from October 1, 2019. The daily flights will be operated with a 787-9. After a long hiatus, Air India will restart its Delhi-Toronto flights on September 27, 2019. Air India will operate 3x weekly flights with a 777-300ER on this route.