The airline, which claims to be the most profitable in the world, last had a direct flight from Mumbai to New York in 2009.
US carrier Delta Air Lines will restart its non-stop flight services connecting Mumbai with New York, after a gap of 10 years, in what a senior executive termed as "filling the last remaining hole in our global network."
The airline, which claims to be the most profitable in the world, last had a direct flight from Mumbai to New York in 2009. Its last flight in India, connecting Mumbai and Amsterdam, was in 2015.
The re-launch will take off at 12.55 am, on December 24, with its renovated Boeing 777-200LR aircraft taking off from Mumbai and reaching New York's JFK airport, 16 hours later.
"New York has the highest population of Indians for any American city. And both New York and Mumbai are financial capitals, " said Jimmy Eichelgruen, Delta's Director Sales, Africa, Middle East and India.
Delta earlier had a code share agreement with Jet Airways, which suspended operations in April this year. While Delta officials said the absence of Jet Airways was only one of the reasons for the present opportunity to come up, the past few months have seen many other international airlines coming in.
Virgin Atlantic, in which Delta has a substantial stake, restarted its Mumbai-London services, and even Indian carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet have aggressively expanded internationally to make the most of the vacuum left by Jet Airways. The Naresh Goyal-founded airline had the largest share in international traffic, to and from India.
Eichelgruen pointed out that the airline pulled out in 2015 as the market was not conducive, saying that the airline wasn't making any money. Interestingly, competition from Middle East airlines was one of the reason that Delta had discontinued the Mumbai-Amsterdam flight.
Interestingly, that competition may continue. Reports have pointed out that fares of one-stop flights of Middle East airlines, from Mumbai to New York, are lower than Delta's starting rate of Rs 58,861 for an economy seat. At the premium end, a Delta One Suite ticket will cost Rs 191,225.
Delta, which has sewn up partnerships with airlines around the world, is looking to do the same in India.
At present, it has an interline agreement with Vistara - the JV airline between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. Eichelgruen said that Delta will look for similar agreements with other airlines, and this will include code share agreement.
An interline agreement allows passengers flying multiple airlines to check-in their luggage through to their last destination. On the other hand, a code share is more evolved and in this, two airlines place their codes on each other's flights, which means one can feed the other with traffic.
Delta has an interline agreement with Air India too.Asked if Delta would be interested in the disinvestment of the national airline, Eichelgruen said that the American carrier is more interested in partnerships.
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