Why Delta is Returning to Mumbai After Ten Years

Photo: Delta Air Lines


A decade after dropping the route, Delta Air Lines is poised to restart nonstop service between New York/JFK and Mumbai/Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The Atlanta-based carrier says a 2018 breakthrough in talks between the US, UAE and Qatari governments has helped to make the route sustainable.

A newly renovated Boeing 777-200LR will operate the new connection which is due to launch on December 22. The widebody features the carrier’s latest onboard product comprising Delta One suites, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort + and Main Cabin options.

Delta management has been particularly outspoken relating to allegations of unfair business practices by some Middle Eastern airlines. According to the carrier, “agreements between the US and governments of the UAE and Qatar to address Open Skies-violating government subsidies to state-owned carriers,” contributed to the decision. Once launched, it will mark the airline’s first nonstop flight from JFK to Mumbai since 2009, with Delta blaming “illegally subsidised Middle East carriers” for the route’s previous closure.

Delta Air Lines

Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer also cited the international agreements as a key factor: “This route would not be possible without the administration’s ongoing efforts to enforce fair competition in international travel, ensuring that consumers enjoy a wide range of choices as they travel the globe.”

Data from Delta suggests demand for flights between the US and India has “increased significantly” over the past decade, with New York representing the largest American market to India with the largest base of corporate customers.

Delta will compete with Air India, who has a well-established service linking Mumbai with the Big Apple.

The flight will operate year-round with the following schedule:

Departure Arrival
​JFK at 9.15pm ​BOM at 10.50pm (next day)
BOM at 12:50am JFK at 6.35am
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