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Air India nonstop Delhi-Washington Dulles flights likely in 2017

Washington DC region is readying itself to welcome more international airlines by 2018. Media reports said that three leading carriers – Air India, WestJet and El Al – are actively planning to launch new flights services to the U.S. capital city within two years.

The officials of these three airlines have already shown their interest in launching flights to Washington DC and held separate meetings with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority officials. Currently, Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are being managed by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

According to the reports, India’s national carrier Air India is planning to launch new nonstop flights between New Delhi and Washington Dulles from spring 2017. Air India, which is also a member of leading global airline alliance Star Alliance, however finds the operating costs at Washington Dulles airport expensive and looking forward to incentives.

Israel’s national carrier El Al wants to launch flights between Washington Dulles and Tel Aviv. The airline has proposed a thrice weekly nonstop service and plans to launch the route in 2018, if its proposal is finally approved.

Canada’s second-largest carrier WestJet wants to serve Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport which is close to its Toronto hub. There are though slot constraints at Washington National, and is therefore a hurdle for the airline. Keeping this in view, WestJet will however like to launch flights either from Washington Dulles International Airport or Baltimore/Washington International Airport.

The reports however stated that WestJet, a leading low-cost Canadian carrier based out of Calgary, is undecided and planning to undertake a “major study” of Washington DC market this summer. The airline officials have expressed concerns regarding both Baltimore/Washington International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. The costs are lower with less competition at Baltimore, but international codeshare opportunities are fewer and therefore disadvantageous. While, there are higher costs with great competition at Washington Dulles, as well as many international codeshare opportunities. WestJet therefore finds it rather difficult to launch flights from either of these airports, and yet to make a final decision.

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