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The government-owned passenger airline Air India is all set to launch its sixth destination in the US with three-times-a-week services to Los Angeles from New Delhi from the forthcoming winters.
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.
As of now, Air India, which is in the process of disinvestment, flies non-stop services to New York, Newark, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington in the US. It also has a one-stop service to New York from Ahmedabad via London.
Three of these services — New Delhi-San Francisco, New Delhi-Washington and Ahmedabad — New York via London have been launched in less than last two years.
"Almost all regulatory approvals for the proposed air services to Los Angeles from New Delhi are in place. The new flight is a part of the winter schedule and it may take off anytime between late October and early November," the official said.
Winter schedule of the airlines in India commences from the last Saturday of October and lasts up to the last Saturday of March every year.
Known for the entertainment industry, Los Angeles has a sizable Indian population.
The official said the new services will be operated three times-a-week — Wednesday, Friday and Sunday — and the airline will deploy a 342-seater B777-300 (extended range) plane on the route.
Air India, which is a part of the 28-member international airlines grouping, Star Alliance, has 35 destinations in its overseas network spread across the US, Europe, Australia, Far-East and South-East Asia and the Gulf.
Jet Airways is the only private Indian carrier after Air India which flies to US cities via its hub in Europe.
According to a study by aviation think-tank, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), the non-stop traffic on the India-US route accounted for 17.4 per cent of the total air traffic on the route last year. The majority of the passengers chose airlines, which offer one-stop journey via their hubs to the US.
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