Air India Set to Expand US Network
Airlines Routes

Air India Set to Expand US Network

DALLAS — Tata Group-owned carrier Air India (AI) aims to grow its US network with the addition of two routes from Mumbai (BOM), starting with a San Francisco (SFO) service commencing December 15, 2022, and later with a New York (JFK) service beginning February 14, 2023.

Currently, there is an increase in nonstop capacity between India and North America. To effectively expand its presence in the US market, AI will lease 30 new aircraft over a 15-month period. The order consists of five Boeing 777-200LRs, 21 Airbus A320neos, and four A321neos.

The new routes are long-haul operations, and therefore the Triple Sevens will be used to conduct the flights. The SFO route includes three flights per week and will become the third route to the city for the Star Alliance member—the other two services include 10 weekly flights from Delhi (DEL) and a three-weekly service from Bengaluru (BLR).

With respect to the new JFK service, AI will conduct 3x weekly operations from Mumbai alongside the existing 3x weekly service to Newark Liberty (EWR) on the east coast.

Air India Boeing 777-200ER (VT-ALF). Photo: Luca Flores/Airways

Market Outlook

On December 15, 2022, AI will become the only carrier servicing this nonstop route. The decision to serve this route was backed by Sabre Market Intelligence data, which revealed that air traffic between the two cities amounted to 138,090 two-way passengers in 2019 (378 passengers per day).

However, all these passengers traveled indirectly. The biggest one-stop connecting markets were Dubai (DXB), Hong-kong (HKG), and Beijing Capital (PEK) accounting for 19%, 17.8%, and 7.8% of the traffic respectively

Air India is currently the sole operator of the Mumbai-New York nonstop route with its service to EWR. However, with the additional service to JFK being added in February 2023, the number of two-way seats available will increase by 162% to 5,384, and daily operations will total 10 times weekly.

Other airlines are looking into these types of nonstop services such as United Airlines (UA), meaning it is likely that seat availability will increase by the first quarter of 2023.

With new aircraft on the way and new routes materializing, AI’s expansion plan is happening with minimal hiccups.

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From residing in the Caribbean, Tarik has developed an interest in studying how developing nations benefit from the presence of the aviation industry through tourism, trade, and other linkages. Based in Jamaica.

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