United Airlines suspends flight to Delhi over air pollution concern

A United Airline aircraft

United Airlines has temporarily suspended flights to Delhi because of the thick and deadly smog that has covered the city for the past week.

United has operated on the Newark-New Delhi route since 2005 and now offers daily nonstop service on its Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. The airline will continue to monitor the crisis and advises the public to watch for updates, a United airlines spokesperson told to DNA India.

The airline is also transferring affected passengers to other airlines.

The airline company now has waiver policies in place for customers who are traveling to, from or through Delhi, informed a United Airlines spokesperson. The company said it was letting passengers switch flights without charge or helping them find seats on other carriers.It was unclear if other airlines would follow suit.

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Dipak Deva, Managing director of Tourism division, Thomas Cook group said: "The pollution has generated a lot of negative publicity for the destination (Delhi) globally. Guests are arriving according to schedule and they move out of Delhi immediately, so there is no cause for concern".

The tour operators, however, have not seen any cancellations yet. In the wake of such negative developments, Delhi is bound to drop off the map of worldwide tourists, who might pick cleaner South Asian destinations.

Delhi has been enveloped in a haze of smog since Monday night, as air quality across most parts of the national capital deteriorated to "severe" levels. Delhi schools were shut for the week.

As per the data collected from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi's average Air Quality Index (AQI) at 3 pm today was 423 (on a scale of 0 to 500) while the PM2.5 (particles with diameter less than 2.5) hovered around 422 units, considered "severe".

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