Air India unloaded a slew of new routes and destinations on Twitter this morning, but one might be particularly interesting to those based in the US. Specifically, Air India will be launching non-stop flights between Washington DC and Delhi in July 2017.
Air India currently offers non-stop service between Delhi and Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO). All but JFK have pretty heavy Star Alliance presence, notably from United, and Air India has a fifth-freedom flight between Newark (EWR) and London (LHR) as well.
The new route to Washington-Dulles (IAD) will probably have pretty good origin – destination market demand, since it’s linking the capitals of the two countries. But I imagine there will be plenty of passenger feed on both ends as well, with both airports being huge hubs for Air India and United.
Air India will be operating the Boeing 777 on this route, though it’s unclear whether they are will be flying the 777-200LR or the 777-300ER. In either case, Economy Class is organize in a 3-3-3 configuration, with 33 – 34 inches of pitch, so it’s actually one of the more spacious arrangement out there, at least on paper. The Business Class product is pretty disappointing, though, since it is organized in a 2-3-2 configuration, and feature angled flat seats (on the 777-200LR) or “lie-flat” seats (on the 777-300ER).
Both aircraft also currently feature the same First Class product, which I flew on earlier this year and was pleasantly surprised by (full report coming soon!) It’s worth noting that Air India is planning on removing First Class completely from their 777-200LR fleet. This variant currently feature two rows of First Class, in a 1-2-1 configuration, with a total of 8 seats. It would be a logical assumption that the Business Class product would get a (much needed) revamp in the process, perhaps replacing the current offering with the product currently on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, though that’s unconfirmed.
Air India hasn’t announced the exact launch date for this new route, but more details should coming soon. As a point of reference, Air Canada is launching non-stop flights between Mumbai (BOM) and Toronto (YYZ) on July 1, 2017, but that’s the only other new North America – India I am aware of.