The first direct Air India flight from Delhi to Washington DC recently landed at the Dulles International Airport, connecting both the Capitals. Upon its landing at the airport, the flight, AI 103, was accorded a water cannon salute and traditional gate-side prayer ceremony.
Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Navtej Sarna; Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani; and Commercial Director of Air India Pankaj Shrivastava were among the passengers on the inaugural flight to Washington.
The service to the U.S. capital will be offered three times a week. Air India has deployed its 238-seater Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft to cater to the new direct service to the U.S., with the plane offering eight seats in first class, 35 in business and 195 in economy class.
The non-stop flight service is expected to bring in additional 30,000 leisure and business travellers and $30 million in total economic impact annually to the National Capital Region, local officials stated.
“India currently represents a six percent market share of all international travellers to the Commonwealth and is Virginia’s fourth largest market,” said Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade.
“With projected growth, this new direct route to Dulles International will not only help boost visitation from this high growth market but also introduce the Commonwealth to new Indian audiences, including businesses, tourists and students,” Haymore added.
“The Washington DC metro is Air India’s fifth U.S. destination after New York, Newark, Chicago and San Francisco, and it reinforces our commitment to providing the most convenient service between the U.S. and India,” said Lohani.