Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Air India on Friday announced introduction of a daily non-stop flight from Mumbai to New York (JFK Airport) from August 1.

The maiden Boeing 777-200LR aircraft will arrive in Mumbai on July 25 from Seattle, followed by the second flight in the next few days.

Talking to reporters, Air India Regional Director-India P K Gupta said: “By December-end, we will provide direct connectivity to New York from Delhi. It might take another year to connect Chennai or Bangalore with New York. Our aim is to link the major metros with the U.S. cities by 2009.”

According to Mr. Gupta, beginning September, passengers could board the Mumbai-New York flight from Chennai airport after customs and immigration clearance.

Talks were on with the respective department heads.

“The proposed merger with Indian is likely to bring in marked difference in our service offerings. Mega mergers, airport privatisation, open skies and new aircraft are going to take us to new heights,” Air India officials said. It might take a few more weeks to complete the formalities.

By 2009, Air India would be offering its services in 80 cities with the help of 250 aircraft. The present fleet of 747 aircraft were being renovated at a cost of Rs 300 crore. Another seven to eight Boeing 777-200 were expected to arrive in the next eight months and would cater for new destinations. e-ticketing would be introduced by December this year.

Limo service

The Mumbai-New York flight will leave Mumbai at 12.45 a.m. and arrive at the JFK airport at 7.10 a.m. (U.S. time).

On return, it will leave New York at 9.30 p.m. (U.S. time) and reach Mumbai at 10.15 p.m.

All first class passengers will be provided limo service at the JKF airport in Mercedes/Camry cars and executive class passengers offered Corolla cars.

Meals will be served to the customers as per their convenience.

The fares for the economy, business and first class are, Rs 56,000, Rs 2.25 lakh and Rs 4.6 lakh.