United Airlines halts 2 Indian routes as it ends using the Russian airspace

United has temporarily suspended its daily Delhi-San Francisco (SFO) and Mumbai-Newark (EWR) flights as it stops overflying Russia in wake of the Ukraine crisis. The US carrier’s other two dailies — Delhi-EWR and Delhi-Chicago — are continuing as they do not overfly Russian airspace.

At this point, Air India — which still overflies Russia — is the only nonstop between Delhi and SFO and Mumbai and EWR. It will benefit Air India, as well as its aircraft, to continue to use the Russian airspace. 

At present Air India, American Airlines and United operate non-stop flights between India and the US

Avoiding Russian airspace can add considerable flying time on routes between many destinations in Asia and North America.

At present Air India, American Airlines and United operate non-stop flights between India and the US. With other flights via West Asia and Europe also recording high occupancies, United’s decision could lead to an increase in fares on the India-US route.

“United has temporarily suspended flying over Russian airspace to operate our flights to and from Mumbai and Delhi, India,” a United spokesperson told TOI.

United’s temporary but indefinite suspension will mean greater demand for Air India nonstops on the affected US routes

United’s temporary but indefinite suspension, say travel industry insiders, will mean greater demand for Air India nonstops on the affected US routes. American Airlines, on the other hand, is avoiding Russian airspace for flights between Delhi and New York by flying via a route to the south of Russia.

Air India had started the Delhi-SFO direct about six years back which became so popular with flyers that United also started flights on the same. Vistara is looking at starting India-US nonstops an announcement could be made in the coming days.

The US Federal Aviation Administration recently expanded the area in eastern Europe and Russia where US commercial airlines can’t operate — all of Ukraine, Belarus and a western portion of Russia.

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