American Airlines and IndiGo had in September announced that they have entered into a codeshare agreement which allows the former to sell seats — on its distribution system — of the Indian carrier’s flights operating on 29 routes.
The Texas-based carrier resumed its New York-Delhi flight on November 12 after a gap of 10 years.
American Airlines’ Managing Director (Sales) Tom Lattig has told PTI in an interview that the carrier’s Seattle-Bengaluru flight would start flying from March 25 instead of January 4 as was announced before.
“We have not seen much corporate travel recovery yet. We know that route (Seattle-Bengaluru) in particular will depend heavily on corporate traffic and we have made the decision to push the date,” he mentioned.
The airline has more than 2,000 agreements in place in the US with various companies, he noted.
“Any of our big technology firms in North America, on the west coast in particular, which is where we expect to get traffic from for our Seattle-Bengaluru flight, we already have those corporate agreements in place,” he mentioned.
American Airlines would be going to those companies and adding special pricing for them on its new service to India, Lattig added.
Gulf carriers such as Qatar Airways and Emirates carry a significant share of traffic on the India-US routes and the India-Europe routes through their one-stop flights.
When asked how he sees the competition posed by the Gulf carriers on the India-US routes, Lattig replied: “We certainly expect to be able to take traffic on our non-stop services. To the extent the pie is going to grow — it is going to be a bigger market — we will certainly be able to take traffic and build traffic there.”
“I do expect we would be able to take traffic from airline that carry passengers via third countries (one-stop flights). Certainly, that will be the target for us,” Lattig added.
He said there is a lot of pent up demand for travel between India and North America.
“We see that (pent up demand) in our forward bookings. We want to fly more and more flights,” he added.
When asked if the Indian government should resume scheduled international flight services, Lattig said, “It’s really up to the government to decide when they are going to open and how many flights they are going to allow.”
“We certainly hope to move towards open skies,” he added.
American Airlines is in the process of the getting the requisite approvals from the US government regarding their codeshare partnership with IndiGo, he said.
“Once we get all the approvals, we will move into the implementation phase and we expect that to be in the first quarter of 2022,” he said.
It is going to be really a great partnership for us because it is going to help us connect passengers from North America to everywhere in India and the Indian passenger to anywhere in the US, he added.