Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

United halts flights to New Delhi as toxic air chokes India's capital

United halts flights to New Delhi as toxic air chokes India's capital

Apart from Delhi, United also flies from Newark to Mumbai.

"United has temporarily suspended Newark-Delhi flights due to poor air quality concerns in Delhi and now has waiver policies in place for customers who are travelling to, from or through Delhi".

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.

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The United airlines operates Boeing 777 a 267-seated aircraft on the route from Newark to Delhi comprising of 14 hours of journey.

United issued a travel waiver on Thursday under which customers travelling to Delhi between 9 and 13 November could book a comparable ticket leaving on or before 18 November at no additional cost.

A representative from the airline told CNN that the United is "monitoring advisories as the region remains under a public health emergency" and that it is coordinating with the respective government agencies. United is the only USA airline to offer direct flights to India.

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The tour operators, however, have not seen any cancellations yet. Adding to the situation, Delhi, known for its minimal public transportation infrastructure, is faced with worsening pollution from vehicular traffic as well as smoke and exhaust from numerous construction sites throughout the area.

Karan Anand, head-relationships, Cox & Kings, "We are not seeing any cancellations from tourists at this point. Even domestic tourists are avoiding Delhi".

According to the Washington Post, the fine particulates in the smog are more than 40 times greater than what the World Health Organization-deems a recommended safe level. Air pollutants, especially PM 2.5 and PM10 levels have been over ten times higher than permissible.

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Through the crisis in New Delhi, schools have been temporarily closed, trucks prohibited from entering, and industrial activity halted.

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