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United Airlines suspends two routes to India temporarily

United Airlines, which operates 4 flights a day to India, has announced that it is temporarily suspending two routes to India as the airline will not use Russian airspace anymore.

Two Indian routes suspended temporarily

United Airlines has announced that it will no longer use Russian airspace for its flights to Mumbai and Delhi, and is temporarily suspending these routes as a result.

The Chicago-based airline has made it clear in a message to employees that it is the airline’s decision not to use the Russian airspace, and not Russia’s.

The message stated:

United has decided to temporarily suspend transiting Russian airspace to operate our flights to and from BOM (Mumbai) and DEL (Delhi) India.

Presently, United operates daily flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Newark to Delhi and also a daily flight from Newark to Mumbai. As a result of the longer routes made necessary due to the airline’s avoidance of Russian airspace, United has announced that it is temporarily suspending its flights between Newark and Mumbai & between San Francisco and Delhi for the next few days.

American Airlines, which began flights between New York JFK and Delhi last year, has not been using the Russian airspace since the start as it has not yet obtained overflying rights from Russia.

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United’s use of that airspace requires payment of overflight fees to the Russian government, just as Western companies are accelerating their efforts to cut commercial ties with the Russian government and Russian businesses. So indirectly, United’s decision to no longer use the Russian airspace can also be viewed as another Western company cutting Russia off.

In its message to employees, the carrier noted that it had other routes available and that further adjustments are possible.

The message said:

We do, however, have available routes outside Russia, which allows us to continually operate the ORD-DEL and EWR-DEL routes. We may have additional adjustments to our flight schedule for India in the days ahead as the situation develops, but we remain in close communication with our crews in India.

Generally, all flights between India and North America fly over Russia as its a more direct route. But avoiding Russian airspace can add considerable flying time on routes between many destinations in Asia and North America.

For example, American’s New York-Delhi nonstop flight must frequently make a fuel stop in Bangor, Maine (BGR), on its return trip to New York. That flight is operated by the same type of aircraft as United’s flight from Newark to Delhi, the Boeing B777-300ER.

It remains to be seen whether United will add a technical stop just like American Airlines for its flights on Newark-Mumbai and San Francisco-Delhi routes.

If you are flying with United on Newark-Mumbai or San Francisco-Delhi routes, IH Aviation and Travel advises you to contact United for further information.

Featured image by United

What do you think of United’s decision not to use the Russian airspace? Let me know in the comments section below.

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