The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Air India announces new nonstop service between Indira Gandhi and Dulles International airports

Air India passenger planes are seen parked at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai, India, February 7, 2017. (REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui)

Air India will launch new non-stop service between Indira Gandhi International and Dulles International airports this summer, giving Dulles an important boost to its international portfolio.

“Today, we celebrate a new bridge between India and the Capital Region, showing that Virginia will continue to be open and welcoming to all international travelers,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said in a news release. “The Commonwealth has made a significant commitment to growing our relationship with India in recent years and we are proud to be a new United States market with nonstop service from New Delhi.”

Starting in July, the airline will offer three nonstop, round-trip flights a week.

McAuliffe helped lay the groundwork for the deal during a November 2015 trade and marketing mission to India, when he met with Air India executives.  He said the new service is expected to bring an additional 30,000 tourists and business travelers to the D.C. region. The economic impact will be in the range of $30 million, McAuliffe said. He proposed a $1.25 million incentive package over a three years beginning in fiscal year 2018 to support Air India and stimulate travel to Virginia through Dulles. In addition, he said the District plans to provide $250,000 this year to support the partnership.

“Now, more than ever, we celebrate D.C. values as we continue to embrace the international community and showcase the inclusiveness of the nation’s capital,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said. “This exciting opportunity will also be a significant driver of tourism and business in Washington, D.C. for years to come.”

In 2015, more than 122,000 people came to the National Capital Region from India — an increase of more than 25 percent over the previous year. By By 2020, that number is expected to increase by 7 percent.

“The Washington, D.C. metro area will become Air India’s fifth U.S. getaway after New Year, Newark, Chicago, and San Francisco, and reinforces our commitment to providing the most convenient service between the USA and India,” said commented Ashwani Lohani, chairman and managing diirector at Air India Limited.

This is Air India’s second foray at Dulles. The airline previously offered daily flights from Dulles from December 2009 through June 2010. But the service was not direct and included a stop at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport landing at Dulles.