Delta Air Lines will fly nonstop from the U.S. to India for the first time in a decade, a decision the airline said was due to recent agreements over three of its Middle Eastern rivals’ practices.
The flights will begin next year and either depart from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport or Delta’s home base at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, but the airline has not made a final decision.
Delta’s announcement came after agreements this year appeared to put to rest a bitter, years-long dispute with three Persian Gulf airlines — Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad — which U.S. airlines said received government subsidies making it impossible for the U.S. carriers to compete in certain markets.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC earlier this month the airline intended on returning to markets, including India, where it had been “hurt” by the three carriers.
In January, Qatar agreed to open its books and provide financial statements. Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates agreed to a similar deal with the Trump administration. Bastian credited the administration for allowing the airline to restart the service to India.
“This move will mark a return to India for Delta, which was forced to exit the market after subsidized state-owned airlines made service economically unviable,” the company said in its announcement
The service requires government approval, Delta said, adding that it plans to also expand its code-sharing agreement with local partner Jet Airways to carry passengers to other destinations in India.
United Airlines is the only U.S. airline that currently flies nonstop to India from the United States.