Dulles International Airport, VA – On Friday, July 7, 2017, clouds parted to reveal the landing of a direct Air India flight from New Delhi, which was greeted by tarmac water cannons from the airport officers and Indian traditional prayers amid much fan-fare.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, one of the driving forces behind the maiden flight connecting the two democracies, said at the event, “”It will have an economic impact of about $30 million for our region. This is a great deal.”
The current three days a week schedule will bring over 30,000 visitors to the capital region, Governor McAuliffe noted.
Earlier, addressing the gathering, Air India chief Ashwani Lohani said, “New connections, brand new connections. And this is the way we are going to do it,” adding that the airline would significantly expand its operations in the US in the coming times.
Quoting Lohani, McAuliffe highlighted a huge market for people traveling on this sector, saying, “Chairman Lohani has said this was a sold out flight today. The flight returning too is a sold-out flight. So, there’s a very good opportunity for us if this will go to seven days a week, if there is a continued interest.”
Air India’s Dulles service will operate on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It departs Dulles to Delhi at 11 a.m. There is already talk of making it a daily affair as Dulles International Airport is within short driving distance of Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC, and West Virginia among others.
The Dulles International Airport becomes Air India’s fifth US destination, joining Chicago O’Hare, New York JFK, Newark Liberty and San Francisco, but this is the only direct flight between New Delhi and the Washington DC Metro area.
The direct flight was made possible by the Dulles International Airport authorities, incentives from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District. Moreover, Virginia Tourism Corporation, among others, is offering the much-needed tourism marketing support.