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Air India will launch a new direct service connecting New Delhi with San Francisco before the end of this year. Flights will commence on December 2, operating thrice a week in both directions, that is, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, using Boeing 777-200LR (long range) aircraft.

The Boeing 777-200LR aircraft has a seating capacity of 238 passengers, made up of eight first class, 35 business class and 195 economy class seats.

The plan was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Silicon Valley. The route will mark the first direct flights between the two cities and Air India’s fourth U.S. route with existing services to New York (JFK and Newark) and Chicago. “By creating the first-ever nonstop service between San Francisco and Delhi, Air India has united two great cultural and economic centres of the world. As the only nonstop flight between India and the West Coast of the United States, I fully expect this new service to be a success,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

“I am excited that Air India has selected SFO for their newest route in the United States,” said Airport Director John L Martin.

The announcement thwarts speculation about air India’s plans to launch direct flights to the destination from Bengaluru, a route that would have created the longest air route in the world to connect two of the world’s largest IT hubs.