Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Rerouting: Delhi-London flying time may go by up to 2 hours; non-stops to US likely to require fuelling halt

New Delhi: Flying time from Delhi to London may increase by up to two hours and the non-stops from Delhi to the US may require a technical fuelling halt that could increase the travel time even more. With Pakistan closing its airspace, including that of Karachi flight information regional that covers a part of Arabian Sea next to the port city, airlines are finalising new routing for their flights between US, Europe, Gulf and north Indian airports, mainly Delhi. International airlines that overflew this region, on say a Bangkok-London flight, are also rerouting.

The Air India management held a series of meetings on Tuesday itself to deal with the situation. Delhi’s IGI Airport is the Maharaja’s base from where it operates non-stop Boeing 787 Dreamliners to Europe and B777s to American cities like New York (both JFK and Newark-EWR), Chicago, Washington and San Francisco (SFO).

Flights from Delhi and other north Indian cities to the west will need to fly close to Mumbai, take a right turn to the Arabian Sea and head to Muscat — completely avoiding the Pakistan airspace. From Muscat, they will head to their destinations on the shortest great circle route.

“We will fly out two hours more and on return flight take 45 minutes more (due to wind flow). The B777 uses about Rs 7.5-8 lakh worth fuel every hour. So, East Coast flight may see extra fuel burn of about Rs 21 lakh and Europe of Rs 16 lakh on way out,” said a senior AI official.

The ultra long range flights to US may also require a technical fuelling halt which may be Ahmedabad, depending on availability of Boeing 777 parking bays, or Milan.
27/02/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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