If Russian airspace opens up, we will be bigger in India, says United Airlines CEO

Forum Gandhi | | Updated on: Jun 21, 2022
Scott Kirby, CEO, United Airlines

Scott Kirby, CEO, United Airlines

The American carrier halted Russian airspace use and temporarily cancelled San Francisco to New Delhi and Newark to Mumbai

The closure of Russian airspace is coming in the way of United Airlines’ plans to fly to and from India, said a top official.

On the sidelines of the 78th IATA AGM in Doha, Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, said that India has been an extremely successful market. However, in the recent past, the airline had to cut down its operations to and from India because of Russia’s airspace closure.

On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine, followed by multiple sanctions, including the US barring all Russian aircraft and its airlines from using or entering its airspace. At least 36 nations, including all the 27 EU countries, closed their airspace.

The American carrier halted the use of Russian airspace and temporarily cancelled San Francisco to New Delhi and Newark to Mumbai. Prior to this, it flew on at least three routes.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Kirby said that, “India is a great market. It is a rather successful market for us. In fact, we had grown from two flights a day to five flights a day. However, the challenge for us is Russian overflight issues. “

When asked if the higher ATF prices were also an issue for United Airlines to fly to and from India, he said, “No other issues are bothering us as much as the concern of not being able to fly over Russia. That’s our concern when it comes to India.”

According to sources, United Airlines was mulling partnerships with Air India. However, when asked if United Airlines was looking at opportunities for partnership with Air India or any other airline, he refused to comment on it. However, he said, “We want to serve India. If Russia opens up, we will be bigger in India,” Kirby said.  

Published on June 21, 2022
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