Maiden Air India direct flight from Chicago lands in Rajiv Gandhi International Airport

The launch of first non-stop service between Chicago and Hyderabad.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The first-ever non-stop services of Air India between Hyderabad and Chicago commenced with the maiden flight arriving here in early hours to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) on Friday. The flight, operating on Wednesdays, left Chicago on time at 21.30 hrs (local time) on Jan.13 and arrived here at 1 a.m.

The return flight AI-107 from Hyderabad to Chicago which operates once a week every Friday, departed from Hyderabad at 12.50 hrs to arrive in Chicago at 18.05 hrs local time on the same day with 226 passengers and 16 aircraft crew at around 12.50 hrs. amidst much fanfare and a celebratory note at the airport.

The AI flight will operate with a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft with a seating capacity of 238 seats including eight first class, 35 business class,195 economy class configuration besides four cockpit and 12 cabin crew. Total flight time on this route will be approx 16 hours 45 minutes from Hyderabad to Chicago and approx 15 hrs 40 minutes from Chicago to Hyderabad. The city being a gateway to South and Central India, will connect Air India’s direct flight from Chicago to Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Bengaluru and Chennai, informed an official spokesperson.

GMR Hyderabad International Airport, AI officials and others were present at the terminal to see off the passengers and crew. A similar welcome and warm reception was also given to the arriving passengers which included a cake cutting ceremony, cultural events and photo opportunity with all sanitization and social distancing protocols adhered to.

Airport CEO Pradeep Panicker said: “The launch of this route brings two destinations closer for our passengers waiting eagerly for a direct flight from Hyderabad to US. We are constantly working on linking more cities domestic and international with focus on high standards of safety to serve our passengers.”

“On behalf of Mayor Lightfoot and the City of Chicago, I am proud to inaugurate the first-ever direct flight between US and Hyderabad, one of India’s fastest growing cities and a center of innovation. This connection will generate an estimated $22 million per year in economic impact for Chicago, in addition to serving Chicago’s large South Asian population, the second-largest in U.S,” said Chicago Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee in a message.

“A strong connectivity with India’s center of innovation is not only exciting for business in Chicago, but will prove to be a fruitful asset for our partners who are conducting business throughout North America. Today’s announcement signals the momentum for a robust relationship between Hyderabad and our great city,” said Michael Fassnacht, Interim President and CEO at World Business Chicago.

Hyderabad-USA-Hyderabad, has been the largest unserved market between India and the US, with over 7.4 lakh passengers annually and with an additional demand of approx. 2.2 lakh since the Telugu diaspora Telangana and Andhra Pradesh regions is one of the fastest growing communities in US. It is also likely to give a much needed impetus to vaccine delivery through the air cargo uplift.

Current annual air cargo tonnage in Hyderabad-USA segment is around 25,000-30,000 Metric Tons and growing at 8-10% annually. Fastest delivery route to/from US for export of pharma, vaccines, perishables, aerospace and engineering goods is now available for customers of neighbouring states too, said an airport spokesman.

With AI being a Star Alliance member, passengers will get seamless connectivity to other interline destinations facilitating faster accessibility to cities in neighboring states via short domestic flights. Air India is operating non-stop flights from Delhi to New York, Newark, Washington DC, San Francisco and Chicago,from Mumbai to Newark and New York plus Bengaluru to San Francisco.

It has flown close to 16 lakh people on over 12,000 flights covering 75 destinations in 55 countries under the Government’s ‘Vande Bharat’ Mission and Air Transport bubble arrangement. Passengers can also log on to: www.airindia.in or call toll free number 1860 233 1407 for more details, the release said.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 3:24:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/maiden-air-india-direct-flight-from-chicago-lands-in-rajiv-gandhi-international-airport/article33580566.ece

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