Now that the Federal Aviation Administration has given a green light to Indian carriers to expand service to the U.S., the Economic Times of India reports that Air India is planning to start flying to San Francisco later this year.
The newspaper said the state-operated airline plans to begin service from New Delhi to both San Francisco and Toronto when its winter schedule takes effect, although the airline had no details yet on starting dates.
It is reportedly planning to use 777-200LRs on both routes, after they are reconfigured to add more economy class seats, remove some business class seats and all first class seats. The reconfigured planes could pack in as many as 310 passengers according to the Economic Times story.
The SFO-Delhi nonstop would be a super-long one at about 16 hours. Regrettably, its no-lie-flat business class seats on the 777s don’t rate highly on SkyTrax. (Note: Air India’s new 787s do have flat bed seats.)
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Air India is a member of the Star Alliance.
Air India’s only current U.S. routes are to Chicago and New York.
In April of this year, the FAA said it had determined that India is now in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s safety standards for air travel, and thus it reinstated a Category 1 safety rating for the country.
That change means India‘s airlines are once again permitted to add new flights to the U.S., something they hadn’t been able to do after the country was downgraded to Category 2. That happened following a 2012 FAA audit that found some deficiencies in India’s aviation system.
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