Tata Group-owned Air India is planning to operate flights to more US cities, including Los Angeles, and is assessing various metrics. Currently, the airline operates non-stop flights to five American cities — Washington, DC, New York, New Jersey, Chicago and San Francisco. Los Angeles and Boston are among the cities being assessed as potential new destinations for long-haul flights from India.
The primary reason being the growing Indian immigrant community in Southern California and New England. In Southern California, Greater Los Angeles alone houses an inflated Indian-origin populace of more than 200,000. New England comprising Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont in the northeast US, is home to a growing base of over 1 lakh Indians.
Starting a new destination entails examining a lot of factors, including fleet size, pilot strength and traffic volume on the route, according to aviation industry experts. Current pilot strength, training of cabin crew and ground staff to be deployed at an airport at the new destination are among the factors that need to be considered.
A large number of Indian nationals or people of Indian-origin are living or working in the US, including students in various American universities. The US is also a tourism destination for many Indians.
Air India, which was taken over by the Tata Group in January last year, is on the revival path, according to the airline.