After confirming in June that it would move its nonstop flight from Atlanta to Mumbai, India, back to New York, Delta Air Lines Inc. has now suspended the service altogether, leaving the airline with no nonstop flights between the United States and India.
Delta said the decision was prompted by lower projected passenger demand.
The airline’s last nonstop flight from the U.S. to Mumbai will be on Oct. 21 from Atlanta, the airline said in a statement. The last direct flight from Mumbai to Atlanta will be on Oct. 23.
Delta will offer flights between the U.S and India through Amsterdam on Delta subsidiary Northwest Airlines and through Paris on Air France, a Delta partner.
“Delta remains committed to India and will continue to evaluate the market for nonstop service from the United States,” the statement said.
Delta said in June that it would move the Atlanta-Mumbai flight back to New York on Oct. 24. The nonstop service to Mumbai was moved here last year from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The inaugural flight from Atlanta on Nov. 1 carried a Georgia trade delegation.
Three days before the first Atlanta flight, India’s U.S. Ambassador, Ronan Sen announced in Atlanta that India would open a consulate here by the end of 2009.
Responding to the worldwide economic downturn, Delta has also suspended flights between Atlanta and Shanghai, China, and Seoul, South Korea, beginning Sept. 1 as the airline cuts international capacity by another 5 percent on top of the 10 percent reductions it announced last year.
Ani Agnihotri, founder and managing partner of the Atlanta-based U.S.-India Business and Research Center, has taken the Atlanta to Mumbai flight four times, including the inaugural flight. Although he understands Delta's need to cut costs, Mr. Agnihotri said suspending the flight is still "very difficult and heartbreaking," for frequent travelers to India.
Nonstop flights are particularly important to business travelers who are on short trips and pressed for time, he said. "Non-stop flights save 20-25 percent of your time," he said. "If you are only there for a week, saving half a day means a lot."