Mumbai News

AI launches Mumbai-San Francisco direct flight; increases India-US frequency to 40 non-stop flights – The Financial Express

Air India on Thursday launched direct flight between Mumbai and San Francisco, and announced plans to start services from the financial capital to New York, Frankfurt and Paris early next year.

The Mumbai-San Francisco flight, which will be operated thrice a week, was inaugurated by civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia virtually from the national capital.

The flight will operate three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with the newly-inducted Boeing 777-200LR aircraft. This will take the airline’s India-US frequency to 40 non-stop flights per week, according to a release.

On December 2, the airline started its three times a week flight between Bengaluru and San Francisco.

At present, Air India operates non-stop flights from Mumbai to Newark, from Delhi to New York, Newark, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Chicago, and from Bengaluru to San Francisco.

“Air India continues to develop Mumbai as an important hub for international as well as domestic traffic. The launch of the Mumbai-San Francisco route will be followed by Mumbai-New York City (JFK), Mumbai-Frankfurt, and Mumbai-Paris. Additional domestic flights originating from Mumbai will also be added,” the release said.

After inaugurating the flight, Scindia said the country’s civil aviation sector is on the cusp of transformation and boom.

“We need to push further, stronger, faster…,” the minister said here.

The event was held virtually, with ministers and officials joining from Delhi and Mumbai.

Air India Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Campbell Wilson said the Mumbai-San Francisco service is a significant step forward in the journey of the new Air India. “It is a significant milestone in restoring a major Air India long haul hub in the city of Mumbai.” The first flight AI 179 from Mumbai to San Francisco left Mumbai on time at 1430 hours.

According to the Air India chief, the carrier will be starting non-stop flights from Mumbai to New York, Paris and Frankfurt in early 2023.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said the state is doing airport expansion work and plans to develop helipads in every talukas to increase air connectivity.

He also said 1,50,988 travellers transited through Mumbai airport in 24 hours on December 10.

Wilson and Shinde joined the event virtually from Mumbai, while Scindia and other officials were in the national capital.

After the Tata group took over the loss-making Air India in January this year, the airline has been working on expanding its services and fleet.

Last month, Wilson said the airline will increase its market share to 30 per cent in domestic and international routes.