sfojvjets wrote:sand26391 wrote:UA's SFO-BLR delayed to December 10th, just checked on UA's website.
Youch. Definitely not a demand problem at all though, IMO. I'm sure the logistics right now are just insane, with govt regulations, etc, because there is no way they can't fill it up. In January, AI's first month of operation for the SFO-BLR route, the LF was north of 90, around 92%. That was only twice weekly and with a poor schedule. As a Bay Area native/resident, I can say without question that the demand is most definitely there, despite restrictions, despite India's covid devastation, despite anything. The combination of tech travelers + VFR travelers make for a very strong, robust market, in spite of the distance, and since no one is likely to be flying to India for business purposes right now, the VFR pax make up for that since a large portion are high earners who want the lieflat bed for the 17+ hr flight.
Hope they don't delay it beyond that. December/Jan is peak India "season."
You're correct demand isn't the problem the problem for UA right now, is Afghanistan airspace. Right now United still overflies Afghanistan on all 4 our our nonstop flights to/from India because basically have no choice however we are now operating over the extreme eastern portion of Afghan airspace to try and limit the amount of time our aircraft spend over the country. We are not able to carry any cargo to/from BOM on our 77Ws because they again follow that same path of going over the extreme eastern edge of Afghanistan then once in Pakistan airspace they turn westbound and head back towards the Gulf of Oman/Arabian Sea to land in BOM. Flights to/from DEL are all on 789s we are carrying cargo to/from DEL because those flights don't have to make that extreme of a course correction over Afghanistan.
Over the winter December through March I noticed that United's DEL-SFO flight almost never used the polar route to get home instead they would fly southeast over Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, South Korea, Japan before continuing out over the Pacific Ocean, however the SFO-DEL leg would still use the polar routes. SFO-BLR-SFO using a standard routes is already pushing the 789s almost to their limit if UA were to launch the routes in early fall I'm not sure the 789s could fly the route without some type of weight restriction because right now EWR/ORD/SFO-DEL and EWR-BOM as well as the return flights are all carrying more fuel than they normally would do to the deviation they have to make over Afghanistan.