New Delhi: Air India today announced the launch of a non-stop flight to San Francisco from December 2, fulfilling a long-pending demand of Indian IT professionals on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the Silicon Valley.
“We are launching a direct non-stop flight to the San Francisco on December 2 as there was a demand for it,” Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani announced at an event to celebrate the World Tourism Day in Delhi.
San Francisco will be the national carrier’s fourth destination in the United States after New York, Newark and Chicago where it operates daily non-stop flights.
The Boeing 777-200 LR (Long Range) flight, to be operated on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, will have a convenient early morning departure and arrival. Similarly, the return flight would depart early morning departure from San Francisco and arrive in Delhi in the afternoon.
Air India officials said the flight will be a boon to the Indian diaspora on the US West Coast as it will make travel easy and convenient for students, NRIs and business travelers looking for direct options to connect with India.
The new flight would connect passengers from Indian cities of Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Pune and Bhubaneswar.
Referring to Air India’s Discover India scheme, Mr Lohani also said there was a deep connect between tourism and civil aviation sectors and the airline was in discussion with Tourism Ministry to launching various schemes in this regard.
Effective today, Air India announced the Discover India scheme under which customers will have an option of buying a maximum of 5 or 10 coupons on its economy class.
The scheme for 5 coupons will cost Rs. 32,500 and can be availed within validity of 15 days, while the second scheme for 10 coupons would be available for Rs. 60,000 and valid for 30 days.
Mr Lohani said Air India will launch Incredible Air India Holiday packages from December 1, in association with the State Tourism Development Corporations.
The packages are being worked out it will be competitive and inclusive with the objective to help the tourists savour the sights and sounds of India in a comfortable, economical and enjoyable manner.
United Airlines is looking to expand its footprint in China. The carrier said on Tuesday it is seeking regulatory approval to begin seasonal flights between its San Francisco hub and the interior Chinese city of Xi’an.
If approved, United says it would be the first U.S. carrier to serve Xi’an and the first-ever to offer a trans-Pacific route from the city. United has proposed seasonal service between the cities, saying it would fly three times a week on Boeing 787-8 “Dreamliner” aircraft. The service would operate from mid-May through late October.
“We are excited by the prospect of using the game-changing 787 to make Xi’an a new trans-Pacific gateway for China,” Jim Compton, United’s chief revenue officer, says in a statement. “Assuming our application is approved, we will offer our customers unique non-stop flights between one of China’s most vibrant cities and the U.S. West Coast, with fast and easy connections via our San Francisco hub to destinations throughout the Americas.”
Xi’an would become United’s 11th nonstop route to the Asia/Pacific region out of its hub in San Francisco. United says it “already operates more non-stop China-U.S. flights, and from more cities in China, than any other airline.”
The 787-8s that United would fly on the San Francisco-Xi’an route seat 219, including 36 in business class, 70 in Economy Plus and 113 in standard coach.
United projects the flight time on the route to be about 12 hours, 5 minutes, eastbound and about 13 hours, 5 minutes, westbound. China-bound flights would operate Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, leaving San Francisco at 1:25 p.m. and landing in Xi’an at 5:30 p.m. the next day (all times local). The return would leave Xi’an on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10:30 a.m., arriving to San Francisco at 7:35 a.m. the same day, all times local.
UNITED on 22SEP15 filed an application to the US Department of Transportation, seeking approval to operate San Francisco – Xi’An route. The Star Alliance member intends to operate this route 3 times a week, using Boeing 787-8. Subject to Approval, first flight for this seasonal service is tentatively scheduled on 08MAY16.
Proposed schedule as follow.
UA853 SFO1325 – 1730+1XIY 788 247
UA852 XIY1030 – 0735SFO 788 246