Beginning on 28th October United will operate two daily flights between New Delhi and Newark, giving the busiest schedule it has ever released. Using its Boeing 787-9, the airline will provide daytime services in both ways. Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, United’s route to Chicago and services from Mumbai have been suspended since 2022. As a result, United is doubling down on its important route in India with an additional daily flight, which is sure to save costs and speed up travel for tens of thousands of customers.
United Airlines has announced intentions to launch a second daily route from its hub in Newark Liberty International (EWR) to Delhi Indira Gandhi International (DEL), as first observed by VT-VLO on Twitter. On 27th October the new service will begin during the IATA winter season with the following hours:
The same Boeing 787-9 that United uses for its daily UA82/83 flight will be used to serve this route as well. Polaris business class has 48 lie-flat seats, Premium Plus has 21 seats, and Economy has 188 seats (including 39 in Economy Plus). Both flights will offer the same level of service, but the schedule differences are intriguing.
Business travellers who wanted to fly overnight have long been served by UA82/83, which leaves at 23:30 and arrives at roughly 06:30, enabling them to attend meetings and work the same day. Prices on this route, however, tended to be exorbitant due to Air India’s few direct flights and the fact that it was the only US carrier offering service. United may capitalise on the high demand for travel, students, and VFR (visiting family and relatives) on North American routes by adding a second aircraft during the day.
Come this winter, both planes should see a lot of traffic. There are flights from New York to Delhi that are operated by two additional airlines. Air India flies daily to JFK and three times weekly to Newark, while American provides a once-daily service with its 777s. The most experienced competitor on this route is United.
Although Air India has additional flights, its ageing cabins (which have not yet been replaced on this route with leased ex-Delta 777s) may find it difficult to draw in all passengers. American is still quite new to the route, but it has been drawing interest. As we approach the peak of summer and college travel, there is currently no shortage of demand for flights to North America.
Increasing United’s capacity to Delhi is a good thing, but the airline currently has few choices. The airline was obliged to eliminate the profitable Mumbai-Newark and Delhi-Chicago routes from its timetables as a result of Russia’s closure of its airspace to Western airlines. The carrier was left with no choice but to focus on Delhi because the planned Bangalore-San Francisco route had also been scrapped. This was made more frustrating by the fact that Air India, a partner in the Star Alliance, is currently expanding its US routes while flying unimpeded through Russia.
United is currently biding its time while strategically placing capacity on high-yield routes in India and anticipating the day when it can fully utilise its bilateral capacity. In the meanwhile, Air India will be relying on its ability to provide a competitive product and adequate routes to draw and retain passengers on its aircraft.
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