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Examined: Air India’s North American Operations

Air India is currently the only airline in the country to offer non-stop flights to North America. While the airline has faced stiff competition from other global carriers, such as those in the Middle East, it has stepped up its game after privatization to improve international connectivity, particularly to North America.
Flights from India to the United States and Canada are perennially in demand, and for good reason. While tourism is just one segment of the travelers to these destinations, many Indians visit these two countries either as students or for employment opportunities, with many eventually settling there long-term.
Photo: J Hopwood | Shutterstock
The Indian diaspora in the US and Canada further fuels another segment of travelers – visiting friends and family – and one can see why Air India has doubled down on routes to these two nations in recent times. Currently, the carrier offers non-stop flights to the US and Canada from three Indian cities – New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Let’s take a closer look at the carrier’s operations in North America. The data has been sourced from Cirium Aviation Analytics.
Flights from Delhi
The busiest airport in India – New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) – is also at the top of the list when it comes to Air India’s flights to North America. In fact, Delhi is the only city in the country from where Air India flies to Canada.
Let’s analyze the US first. An airport-wise breakdown reveals that San Francisco International Airport is the most served by Air India from Delhi, with 11 flights in a week and 47 flights in the entire month of April.
The carrier also has four weekly flights to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and a daily flight to New York (JFK). In all, it has 48 flights scheduled in April from Delhi to both airports serving the New York area collectively. Air India also faces competition from United Airlines on the DEL-EWR route and American Airlines on DEL-JFK.
Photo: viper-zero | Shutterstock
The carrier also operates a daily flight from Delhi to Chicago O’hare (ORD) and five weekly flights to Washington, D.C. (IAD), and there is no competition on either of these routes.
To Canada, Air India deploys its aircraft daily to both Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR). The demand for both these flights is so strong that Air India’s planes are almost always packed for these two services. The carrier competes with Air Canada on the DEL-YYZ route. Per Cirium, Air India has the following flights to the entire North American region from Delhi in April:
DEL-EWR – 18 flights
DEL-IAD – 21 flights
DEL-JFK – 30 flights
DEL-SFO – 47 flights
DEL-YYZ – 30 flights
DEL-YVR – 30 flights
Flights from Mumbai
Mumbai is Air India’s new favorite when it comes to flights to the US. The city is called the country’s commercial capital, and demand for more direct flights has always existed. Not too long ago, the city was connected to the US only by a flight to Newark. But Air India’s privatization changed all of that.
In February 2023, Air India resumed flights between Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) and New York JFK after a gap of four years. It currently flies daily to JFK and four times a week between BOM and EWR.
Photo: christopheronglv | Shuttertsock
But that’s not all! In December 2022, Air India began another ultra-long-haul flight to the US out of Mumbai – to San Francisco. In April, it has four weekly flights on this route with a total of 18 monthly flights. None of the carrier’s US flights out of Mumbai have competition.
Flights from Bengaluru
Bengaluru in South India is unofficially called ‘India’s Silicon Valley,’ for being an important tech hub and home to several multinational companies. It also sees plenty of passenger demand for the San Francisco Bay Area. For this reason, Air India has a non-stop flight between Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) and San Francisco.
It is Air India’s longest flight in its network and, at more than 8,500 miles, also one of the longest commercial flights in the world. The service was suspended due to poor demand during COVID-19 but was brought back in 2022. In April, there are four weekly services between the two destinations.
The Boeing 777 is used predominantly
When it comes to the equipment used for Air India’s services between India and North America, the Boeing 777 is the clear winner. Except for the Delhi-Washington flight, all other flights to the US and Canada are operated using the 777. For Washington, Air India uses its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which, for such a long flight, really pushes the aircraft’s range limit.
Air India has a mixed 777 fleet of -300ER and -200LR variants. The long-range variant is mainly used for flights to San Francisco. The carrier has also leased several 777s previously belonging to other airlines, such as Delta Air Lines and Etihad.
These additional planes come with their existing configuration, which means different cabins from Air India’s legacy 777 fleet. These are considered a step up from Air India’s older 777s, particularly for the premium cabins. Air India has decided to deploy them on all US flights out of Mumbai and the Bengaluru-San Francisco service.
Have you traveled to North America from India on Air India? What was your experience like? Please leave a comment below.



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