The airline is currently the largest carrier serving Los Angeles who doesn't actually serve Los Angeles, by virtue of existing codeshare agreements with Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, in addition to pending codeshares with Thai Airways and Asiana Airlines.
The first thoughts of Air India in Los Angeles surfaced in April of 1964 when the airline took delivery of its 7th Boeing 707 aircraft. At the time a proposal was made to extend the existing service to New York. The airline continued planning this service in the early 1970s when the Boeing 747s began delivery, first with a planned service via Europe and subsequently via Asia. A plan to route via Tokyo almost materialized as they were able to secure fifth freedom rights on the route. In 1981, the airline came closest to launching flights but decided on Montreal instead. In 1995, the airline entered into a codeshare agreement with United Airlines that saw the Air India code first grace the airport's arrival screens, but the agreement was discontinued in 1997. In 2001, the airline even briefly considered nonstop service from Delhi using Boeing 747-400s.
Speaking at a function in Mumbai, the airline spokesperson's voice dripped with nostalgia as he recited a number of milestones in the history of the proposed service.
"From New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and even Moscow, our planned transit stops have changed over the years but the one constant has been the planned destination of Los Angeles. There have been strong links formed during these four decades of planning that continually bring the people of Los Angeles closer to India."
"Despite the reccomendation of the Ministry of Civil Aviation Sub-Committee for Route Planning as far back as 1965, the matter has been pending before the Standing Committee for Technical Evaluation since 1966. When approval was finally received to launch the service in May 1987, unfortunately the Boeing 707s were already retired from the fleet so we had to start the process again."
The airline will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the planned flights with a new plan to launch thrice weekly service via Frankfurt in June.
[Edited 2004-04-02 00:33:28]