United Airlines to restart India flights from next month

UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC said that it would resume daily non-stop flight service between New York, Newark, New Delhi and Mumbai from September 6.

The latest move by the US business giant came after Pakistan lifted airspace restrictions allowing civil airlines to fly.

The airline will also start a new daily service between San Francisco and New Delhi beginning December 5, a company spokesman said on Wednesday (17).

Pakistan reopened its airspace to international civil aviation on Tuesday (16) after over four months of restrictions imposed following clashes with India, which forced long detours that cost airlines millions of dollars.

India’s national carrier, Air India (AI) suffered a loss of Rs 4.91 billion in the four-month period when air space was restricted by Pakistan, India’s civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri informed the Rajya Sabha (upper house of the Indian Parliament) on Wednesday.

He said that 40 per cent of the operating expenses of the airline is on fuel and other geo-political factors, and the closure of air space by Pakistan which cost the airline dearly.
While the AI lost Rs 4.91bn till July 2 due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace, private airlines SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir lost Rs 307.3 million, Rs 25.1m and Rs 21m, respectively said Puri.

Following the airstrike, Air India had to re-route, merge or suspend many of its international flights that connect India with European and US cities.

IndiGo, India’s largest airline by domestic market share, was unable to start direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace.

Pakistan Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat had earlier informed a parliamentary panel that the South Asian country would not move the ban until India removes its jets from forward bases.