India Post News Service
CHICAGO: The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and Air India, the flag carrier of the Republic of India, announced a new direct service between O’Hare International Airport and GMR Hyderabad International Airport. It is the first direct flight between India’s fourth-largest city (population 6.9 million) – a city of historical significance and a fast-growing technology sector.
“On behalf of Mayor Lightfoot and the City of Chicago, I am proud to inaugurate the first-ever direct flight between the United States and Hyderabad – one of India’s fastest growing cities and a center of innovation,” CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee said. “The connection with Hyderabad will generate an estimated $22 million per year in economic impact for Chicago, in addition to serving Chicago’s large South Asian population, the second-largest in the U.S.”
This nonstop flight will operate once a week, year-round starting January 13, 2021. O’Hare now has more service to India than at any time in its history, deepening cultural and economic ties and reinforcing O’Hare’s status as the best-connected airport in the nation.
“A strong connectivity with India’s center of innovation is not only exciting for business in Chicago, but will prove to be a fruitful asset for our partners who are conducting business throughout North America,” said Michael Fassnacht, Interim President and CEO at World Business Chicago. “Today’s announcement signals the momentum for a robust relationship between Hyderabad and our great city. In the face of an unprecedented health crisis, Chicago has remained a global leader in business productivity which is demonstrated by this partnership.”
Air India’s new Hyderabad service will operate a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft with a 238-seat capacity. It will depart O’Hare at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and arrive in Hyderabad at 12:40 a.m. local time on Fridays, with a scheduled flying time of 15 hours and 40 minutes. Return flights will depart Hyderabad at 12:50 p.m. Fridays and arrive in Chicago at 6:05 p.m. on Fridays, with a scheduled flight time of 16 hours and 45 minutes.
The connection will deepen the Chicago area’s already significant cultural and business ties with India. Delhi has been a Sister City to Chicago since 2001 and a Consulate General of India is located in Chicago. More than 100 Chicago-area companies have locations in India, and about 30 India-based businesses have Chicago-area locations. Institutions of higher learning in Illinois host nearly 15,000 Indian students, accounting for 26% of the state’s foreign student population.
Air India is a longtime O’Hare airline partner and started offering flights to Delhi in November 1996. The carrier currently offers year-round, direct flights to Delhi six times a week.
The Hyderabad route is the second new service to India added at O’Hare in the past two months. United Airlines started daily service to Delhi on December 10, 2020. By February 2021, O’Hare’s seat capacity on flights departing for India will be double what it was a year ago.