Air India Launching Flights To Toronto

Filed Under: Air India

Last week I wrote about how India’s Civil Aviation Minister announced that Air India would resume flights to Toronto. I didn’t put too much weight on it at the time, given that Air India officials have a tendency to announce routes and then not follow through on them. Well, the good news is that it seems like this route is in fact happening.

Tickets are now on sale for India’s new 3x weekly flight between Delhi and Toronto, which is launching on September 27, 2019.

The new flight will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER with the following schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays:

AI187 Delhi to Toronto departing 3:00AM arriving 8:45AM
AI188 Toronto to Delhi departing 11:45AM arriving 12:45PM (+1 day)

The flight will cover a distance of 7,250 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 15hr15min in each direction (it’s very strange that the east and westbound flights are blocked at the same time).

Air India’s 777-300ERs feature a total of 342 seats, including four first class seats, 35 business class seats, and 303 economy seats.

Air India’s first class

The flight is now available for bookings, though it looks like there’s virtually no award availability.

Air India should have no problem finding a frame for this route. The airline resumed 3x weekly flights between Mumbai and New York JFK in December 2018, and in the meantime has canceled the route altogether.

Interestingly Toronto is a Star Alliance hub, and presumably Air India will be relying on Air Canada for connecting traffic. However, Air Canada operates daily flights from both Toronto and Vancouver to Delhi using Boeing 787-9s, so I’m not sure they’ll be too thrilled about the launch from Air India.

Air Canada’s 787-9 business class

Air India had operated flights to Toronto until 2012, at which point the route was axed. At the time Air India flew nonstop from Delhi to Toronto. Prior to that the airline also flew from Amritsar to London to Toronto, and from Delhi to London to Toronto. All of those flights lost money and were eventually cut (Air India tried to operate a similar London to Newark flight, but that was cut in November 2018).

Air India’s 777-200LR business class

Bottom line

It’s nice to see Air India make a return to Canada, and give Air Canada some competition. However, Air India’s product isn’t exactly competitive in business — Air Canada has reverse herringbone seats on their 787-9s, while Air India has angled seats on their 777-300ERs.

What do you make of Air India returning to Toronto?

Comments
  1. They’re several billion dollars in debt, are they not? On top of Toronto, they’re also planning for Bali & Nairobi though their dates have yet to be confirmed. They lost money on a London-Newark route? When United is also a player? I have so many questions

  2. Ed Bastian and Doug Parker are gonna protest this route and complain to the Trump admin about this state run and subsidized airline having an unfair advantage, right??? Oh, AI sucks and their product is even worse than the us3 and is nothing like the me3? Oh, carry on

  3. I was waiting for this announcement! Since Jet Airways went bankrupt there’s more demand than capacity for flights to India from Toronto

  4. It seems like, sometime in the middle of last year everyone started using the word ‘frame’ instead of ‘aircraft’. It may be the correct jargon but it sound ridiculous.

  5. It seems like, sometime in the middle of last year everyone started using the word ‘frame’ instead of ‘aircraft’. It may be the correct jargon but it sounds ridiculous.

  6. Owen – you may be correct and I have no reason to doubt your claim.
    Plus AI can get economy traffic. Their economy product is only 50% worse than others. Their premium product is total crap.

  7. They do have 5 routes to the US, strange that they can’t seem to make a route to Canda work…while Air Canada can. Maybe as others have pointed out, now that Jet Airways went out of business, Air India has a better chance now?

  8. This is definitely a result of Jet Airways going out of business. Jet’s YYZ-AMS-DEL flights used to go choc-a-block. AI making hay of the situation is smart. If only they did something about their product, it would be nice!

  9. As bad as AI is – its still better than AC, especially in Y – which I guess i traget audience here anyway.

  10. Amritsar doesn’t surprise me, as it’s in Punjab state, and it seems to me that a large percentage, if not majority, of residents of Indian origin in Canada have roots in Punjab state

  11. The Indo Canadian community in Toronto is massive particularly among Punjabis. It explains why there’s an Amritsar leg to the route. Air India has always flown to Toronto for that reason though intermittently for capacity and financial issues. This would likely be Air India’s most profitable route to North America if it can become consistent and reliable.

  12. AC has suspended the YYZ-DEL flight starting June 14 until August 1. Who knows if this is going to go on longer than that.

  13. @Rob – LOL. Pretty sure that’s someone trolling the real Rob. Fantastic point nonetheless. Should also throw in the fire sale Hainan fares as well! But we don’t care when China uses state subsidies to cut prices and drive down US3 competition.

  14. The routes were never about DEL-YYZ, or LHR-EWR or LHR-YYZ. It’s about Amritsar to Toronto and Ahmedabad to New Jersey. There’s a huge Punjabi population in Toronto and Gujarati population in London and New Jersey. But they don’t make money because both are leisure FFM markets and low yield/price sensitive. They’re making a bet on leisure attracting more business fares as the Indian populations continue to get wealthier in Toronto and the USA.

  15. What again? They have been trying to make this route work with 744 & 77W. Problem has never been the volume. It’s the yield. Think 9W were profitable with the 332 but last I heard the 77W wasnt cutting it. We are talking a diaspora here that will abandon a non stop for connections via LHR & KBP to save $50. Funny they recently dumped Cali service because they couldnt make money but this route with significantly worse yields is going to be profitable. I guess the only good thing is SU no longer serve YYZ as they were the kings of cheap flights via SVO. HOWEVER their spot has now been taken by the Chinese carriers and the cheapest return fare on YYZ DEL is on CZ.

  16. Lovely, AI can bring their piss-poor J service to Canada now. Can’t wait to get on one of these flights. Sign me up!

  17. I can’t imagine choosing to fly Air India! EVER. There are just so many other – and better – options.

  18. Great for families and those in Y. No other airline offers the comfort in Y as does AI with their large seat pitch and food that is edible. After reading some of the comments, I’ll say that my most hated flights have all been on the US3.

  19. They should use the 787 on the route as I have enjoyed my flights on AI’s biz product on the 787. I’d prefer it to the cramped seating and poor catering on just about every Western product flying between NA and the subcontinent.

  20. @Travis, I would never subject my family to Air India. Flying them once was more than enough for me. I can’t think of a more disgusting airline on the planet.

  21. @jon you clearly haven’t tried biman Bangladesh Airlines or PIA.

    @ed 100% agreed regarding the forced use of jargons.

    @ben

    “The airline resumed 3x weekly flights between Mumbai and New York JFK in December 2018, and in the meantime has canceled the route altogether.”

    Canceled what route altogether? This paragraph is a bit confusing in the way it is worded.

  22. @Jon

    I can. LX econ, UA/AA/DL econ, BA econ, AF econ to name just a few. These flights were no better than any flight on AI in econ. At the least, AI had the decency to serve an edible meal.

  23. Lol – more AI bashers. The fact is that nothing said here matters . AI will continue to do well on these routes, despite the company’s earnings sheet. I am sure AI doesn’t care that some users, such as @Jon, on this blog may “never” fly them again. AI serves a vital role to the Indian government, in times serving as an added arm to its operations. In that sense, it operates more like a social enterprise and doesn’t fit into the Western capitalist ideology – perfectly fine and a vital social service. Governments need not make profit (although they shouldn’t have debt such as the US either).

  24. I am actually surprised there are not several more daily flights from India to north america. In fact, even when taking into account United’s two daily flights from EWR to India (which have been suspended for some time now), there are more *direct* weekly flights from TLV to north america compared to all direct flights India to north america. The flight time is not much different (2 hours more from India) and I realize that both places have options to connect (from TLV in Europe and from India in the middle east, in both cases for cheaper fares). Since India is more than 100 times larger than Israel, it seems crazy to me that there are so few direct flights.

  25. “its still better than AC, especially in Y”

    I’d say they’re about the same in economy (for a flight that length). AI’s advantage is their first cabin, so all things being equal, I would choose that cabin on that route. I’d definitely choose AC’s business class, and just flip a coin for economy.

    “AI will continue to do well on these routes”

    Didn’t they a;ready cancel this route once before?

  26. funny all those AI-bashers don’t spend enough on 9W to keep it alive, and nothing more tragic than those losers constantly using “AI is unlimited piggy bank backed by govt” as strawman argument than having any self awareness of 9W’s true fatal flaws.

  27. @Ed – good point. In articles about orders, “frame” may be more accurate, since it indicates the ordering airline may not have chosen the engines yet – usually “frame” refers to the plane less its engines in this context. But to use “frame” instead of “aircraft” (or just “plane”) in the general sense is like people who say “temblor” instead of “earthquake” or “dental caries” instead of “cavities”, sort of annoying.

  28. AC announced cancellation of widebody service YYZ-DEL. Now AI takes their place. Not rocket science.

    Heavy leisure route, premium quality unimportant. Best served by LCC if one were interested.

  29. @Eskimo did you ever work for an airline because you are sooo right.
    Isnt that the definition of lunacy? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?
    @DenB now why do you suppose AC dropped the route – see Eskimo;s answer above.

  30. “funny all those AI-bashers don’t spend enough on 9W to keep it alive”

    Not sure how the 2 are related. You can have the opinion that Jet was a superior airline to Air India (and I am in that camp) without having spent tons on money on flying either. I don’t fly Singapore every week, but I can say I find it a better airline overall than, say, Malaysian.

  31. We ARE EXTREMELY HAPPY to SEE that OUR GOOD old Air India is BACK to DEL YYZ sector.
    For the last 30 years, we are flying across the WORLD in the longest routes… availing ALL POSSIBLE careers like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Jet, Qantas, United Airlines, WestJet, British Airways, Air Alitalia, JAL, Air TAP Portugal, Air France, Air Canada, Emirates, Etihad etc. but till DATE with my 30-32 years of extensive air travel experience from far East to far West (starting from Melbourne, Mumbai, Singapore, Delhi, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Athens, Rome, Paris, Portugal, London, New York, Washington, Boston, San Jose, Quebec, Montreal till Toronto) I can vouch that Air India is the BEST Airlines in terms of FOOD and hostful behaviour.
    Recently during May 2019 we went to Europe and were forced to take 4 sectors using Air Alitalia, JAL, Air TAP Portugal, Air France, Air Canada.
    We shall never forget HOW bland and horrible are the FOOD taste and the quantity of serving together with tremendous ill mannered and arrogant cabin crew in Air Canada.

  32. @Suman

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I have been flying for 40+ years and Air India is the best I have flown in terms of their hospitality and food. My husband flew from YYZ to India just a few days back. YYZ-LHR was Air Canada. He hated everything about it and the food was garbage. LHR-India was Air India and it was the polar opposite. We economy class fliers don’t give a hoot about premium. What matters to us is the food and how they treat us.

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