Over 11 months ago Delta announced that they would fly to India. They did not say when it would happen, or the route they’d fly. And then.. crickets.
Last summer American Airlines CEO Doug Parker mocked Delta’s claim to be launching India service. An employee asked about American possibly serving India and he noted that Delta “said they’re gonna fly to India but they haven’t loaded a flight?” Vice President of Planning Vasu Raja pointed out that they haven’t even announced where they’ll fly and Parker declared, “well you can do that!” And so Raja then announced to laughter “At some point we’re going to fly to India too.”
Now, finally, Delta has announced that they will fly New York JFK – Mumbai starting December 22, over a year and a half after they announced they would fly to India again. The service will be operated by Boeing 777-200LR aircraft.
Taj Palace Mumbai
They’re lead in announcing this, by the way, is that they’re able to make these flights work because of the agreements made between the US, UAE, and Qatar that have nothing whatsoever to do with India flying.
- The Gulf carriers have agreed to financial transparency (which Emirates already provided)
- And they stated they did not currently have plans for new routes between the US and Europe
No limits were placed on their ability to fly between the US and Mideast. It’s those flights that are used to connect passengers between the US and places like India and Pakistan. And the agreement changes nothing whatsoever there.
Moreover Delta claims,
Delta first offered service between the U.S. and Mumbai beginning in 2006, but was forced to suspend the service in 2009 as illegally subsidized Middle East carriers made the route untenable.
That’s a rather.. creative.. reading of history.
- There was too much Gulf carrier service in 2009, so Delta had to stop flying. There is more US-Mideast flying by Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad today than there was in 2009, yet somehow it’s no longer a threat.
- Delta believed in 2008 that – despite Gulf carrier competition – new India service was warranted and announced the November 2018 launch of Atlanta – Mumbai.
- The major threat that was new when Delta scaled back service was the financial crisis and Great Recession.
The truth of course is that Delta will fly non-stop between New York and Mumbai in competition with United and Air India, and they are interested in doing so because as they also say,
Demand for flights between the U.S. and India has increased significantly in the last decade, and New York is the largest U.S. market to India with the largest base of corporate customers.
Gateway of India, Mumbai
Delta is a very good airline (with a poor frequent flyer program). They have a good business class product if you avoid their 767s. They run a good operation. And they have generally friendly service. Unfortunately they can’t promote their quality product and service, they have to distract and lead with a political campaign designed to limit American consumer choice and raise prices, using the government to transfer wealth from consumers to their shareholders. They can earn a profit running a good business, instead they prefer to seek additional profits using political means.