AI pitches for direct flights to US as part of redrawn strategy

New Delhi: A restructured Air India is seeking to redraw its strategies, especially with other Indian carriers poised to provide it competition on popular routes, such as the Gulf, where it has so far enjoyed monopoly status. Direct flights to the US and Australia may enable the airline to recover some of the business that it is likely to lose to other competitors.

Apart from the recently announced Mumbai-New York and New Delhi-New York direct flights, the airline may be planning to start 30-40 non-stop flights a week to the US, to destinations such as Chicago and Newark. Other likely services are daily flights to Boston, Dallas and Fort Worth in the US. These non-stop daily flights are likely to start in November.

As for Australia, the flag carrier may start direct flights to Sydney and Melbourne on a weekly basis by the end of this year or the beginning of the next.

This redrawn strategy is expected to compensate Air India from loss of revenues from the lucrative Gulf sector.

On the issue of denying flying rights to the cargo airline, Great Wall, Indian intelligence agencies had objected on the grounds that the company owning it was blacklisted by US agencies.