United Air Resumes Delhi Service After Pollution Improves

Updated on
  • Carrier is monitoring advisories, consulting state agencies
  • Airline to waive some charges for passengers changing flights

A man wearing a face mask crosses a road shrouded in smog with a dalmatian dog in New Delhi, India, on Nov. 11. 

Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg

United Airlines resumed the Newark-New Delhi flight after temporarily suspending the service because of poor air quality in India’s capital.

Flight UA82 was operating Sunday, the airline said in an emailed statement. Airlines were still flying to the national capital and the Indira Gandhi International Airport’s website had no notices about other cancellations. IndiGo, India’s biggest carrier and having a hub in the city, didn’t cancel any flights, a company spokesman said.

“We are monitoring advisories as the region remains under a public health emergency, and are coordinating with respective government agencies,” United Airlines said in its response to a Bloomberg query. 

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of Delhi, called the capital a “gas chamber” as thick toxic smog continued to envelop the mega-city of around 20 million people on Sunday. The levels of the deadliest, tiny particulate matter -- known as PM 2.5, which lodges deep in a person’s lungs -- was at 495 as of 9 a.m. local time Monday, according to a U.S. embassy monitor. The level had soared to 721 as of 1 p.m. Sunday. World Health Organization guidelines suggest levels above 300 are “hazardous.”

Customers traveling over the next several days should visit the United Airlines website or download the company’s mobile application for updates, the airline said.

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The Indira Gandhi International Airport is capable of handling 62 million passengers annually, according to its website. The facility has three runways, each fitted with Category IIIB instrument landing system, which enables a plane to land with a minimum runway visibility of about 50 meters.

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