You can now take a direct flight from Washington Dulles Airport to Delhi, India thanks to Air India. The 15-hour flight is scheduled three times a week.

In January, Air India announced that it would begin offering non-stop flights from Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport to Washington Dulles Airport. Six months later, the first flight officially touched down at Dulles, and the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft was met with a celebration at the terminal. According to Loudoun County Times, the 15-hour-and-20-minute flight touched down at approximately 7 a.m. on Friday, July 7. Celebratory water cannons, a traditional gate-side Indian prayer ceremony, a ribbon cutting, and a dignitary luncheon all marked the arrival of the first non-stop flight. Boeing, Dulles Airport, and numerous local politicians were among those who took to Twitter to congratulate Air India. Air India wrote on Twitter,"It is great that [the] capitals of [the] two largest democracies of the world today are connected by our flight." Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) attended the celebration, where he spoke with Ashwani Lohani, chairman and director of Air India Limited, about the direct flight from Dehli to Virginia. Apparently the flight plan had been discussed since 2015, so the July 7 flight marked a significant accomplishment for Air India. [caption id="attachment_2212" align="aligncenter" width="500"]India Air A photo from a celebratory ribbon cutting commemorating the first non-stop flight from Delhi to Dulles airport in Virginia.
Photo by Times-Mirror/Amelia Heymann[/caption] McAuliffe said, “Here in the capital region we build bridges of economic opportunity to [other] countries, and we look forward to the opportunities this new route will provide for people in Virginia and India alike. This will be an important avenue for business, tourism and educational opportunities between our two great countries.”
Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation, said the new flight, scheduled three times a week, will encourage tourism to Virginia and D.C. The Virginia Tourism Corporation estimates the direct flight will bring in 30,000 new passengers for business, education, and tourism.
It’s going to give visitors a nonstop transportation way to get directly to Virginia," McClenny said. "In many cases that’s what people want. They want the easiest mode of travel on an airline that they trust.”
According to WTOP, Air India is receiving incentives from the commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia. It will also get tourism marketing support from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Capital Region USA, and Destination D.C. According to Travel Market Insights, visitation from India to the District has grown 40 percent since 2013. With the new flight, that number is expected to grow even further. In addition to increasing tourism, the flight will connect thousands of Indian Americans with their families and relatives in India. Air India Washington Dulles is Air India’s fifth non-stop destination in the U.S., preceded by New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), and San Francisco (SFO). The flight will occur three times a week, departing Dulles every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11 a.m. ET. Are you looking forward to your next flight to Delhi? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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