United Airlines suspends operations to smog-hit Delhi

Representational image	 	 	   	Bigstock

Representational image Bigstock

American carrier United Airlines on Saturday temporarily suspended its flights from Newark to New Delhi due to the bad air quality in the capital city.

While the airline was earlier offering waivers on the rescheduling of tickets, now it has chose to cancel its Newark-Delhi flights on Friday and Saturday (arriving Saturday and Sunday night) citing air quality issues.

United has operated on the Newark-New Delhi route since 2005 and now offers daily nonstop service on its Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. No spokesperson was available to speak about the change of events and the airline's transfer of its booked passengers to other airlines.

United Airlines has temporarily suspended flights to Delhi due to "poor air quality" in the national capital.

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Posting an official notice on their website, United said it was issuing waivers for customers who planned to travel to, from or through New Delhi between November 9 and 13.

The "foreign travel advice" section of the United Kingdom government's website, gov.uk, says, "Severe air pollution is a major hazard to public health in Delhi, and a serious concern in many Indian cities. However, there have been no cancellations in bookings", Dipak Deva, managing director of inbound tourism division, Thomas Cook group, told BS. "Guests are arriving according to schedule and they move out of Delhi immediately, so there is no cause for concern". The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks India 40th out of 136 countries overall, and worldwide, Delhi is ranked at 28 by the number of foreign tourist arrivals.

A dense blanket of smog enveloped Delhi this week, prompting authorities to announce the odd-even rationing of cars from November 13 for five days, closure of schools and a four-fold hike in parking fee for vehicles.

The smog levels were reported to have decreased today but air pollution remained in the "severe" category.

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