Delta – one of America’s top three airlines has opened reservations of its non-stop flights to Mumbai. The flight is on sale from 22nd December 2019. With United having shifted to Newark International Airport (EWR), Delta is advertising theirs as the only service by an American carrier between New York JFK and Mumbai. Air India – the Indian national carrier, already operates the route.
Last year, Delta had announced that it will return to India and specifically Mumbai triggering speculations on the equipment and the route. Speculation was rife that the airline would operate A350 services from Atlanta – world’s largest airport by passenger numbers and a Delta hub or from New York. The airline on 30th April announced the launch of New York – Mumbai route to be operated by renovated B777-200LR. The start date coincides with the peak travel between USA and India with the large Indian and Indian origin population making the annual trip back home.
Delta has previously operated the route via Amsterdam from 2010 to 2015 and operated non-stop to Mumbai from Atlanta between 2006 and Summer 2009 schedule. The flight will operate at below timings
DL024 JFK 2120 – 2250 (+1) BOM
DL025 BOM 0050 – 0640 JFK
While India is connected to New York, Newark, Washington, Chicago and San Francisco with direct flights, the traffic is the highest from the New York region which comprises New York JFK airport and Newark International. United and Air India already offer direct flights to India from the New York region airports.
The airline had been working closely with Jet Airways, until the later suspended operations in April. While Delta would have hoped to reach metros and Tier II cities in India via Mumbai with the help of partner Jet Airways, the suspension would mean that Delta has to re-draw some of its plans and rely heavily on the O-D (Origin – Destination) traffic at India end. The data released by Indian regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) shows that the traffic between India and USA was more than 1 lakh passengers both ways per month in 2018. 30% of this traffic was originating / terminating at New York area airports.
The B777-200LR aircraft which Delta will operate Delta One suite, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort + and Main Cabin options for customers and would have seatback entertainment screens, Gogo Ku Wi-Fi connectivity and access to free mobile messaging through iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The aircraft has 288 seats comprising 28 Delta ONE suites, 48 Delta Premium Select, 90 Delta Comfort+ and 122 in Main Cabin. The economy class section is configured with 9 abreast seats.
The airline has used the announcement has another opportunity to talk about the agreement between US and UAE & Qatar to address open-skies violating subsidies to government owned carriers. Delta has a fleet of 885 aircraft as of March end, excluding the aircraft which are operated by the regional carriers on behalf of Delta.