United Airlines suspends operations to smog-hit Delhi

See how bad Delhi's pollution

See how bad Delhi's pollution

The US carrier said its Newark-New Delhi route was suspended because of "poor air quality concerns" and that customers with tickets can re-book on alternate flights.

The airline has made a decision to cancel its Newark-Delhi flights on Friday and Saturday which was supposed to arrive on Saturday and Sunday nights.

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ANI news agency quoted a United spokesperson as saying "the airline is monitoring advisories as the region remains under a public health emergency, and are coordinating with respective government agencies".

United has operated on the Newark-New Delhi route since 2005 and now offers daily nonstop service on its Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. No spokesperson was available to speak about the change of events and the airline's transfer of its booked passengers to other airlines.

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The air pollution in the national capital has worsened in the last few days, with air quality dropping to "severe" category and a thick toxic smog enshrouding the region. In an email on November 9, the airline company informed its passengers that travel disruptions were likely due to "air quality concerns" in Delhi. United is the only USA airline to offer direct flights to India. "However, there have been no cancellations in bookings", said Dipak Deva, managing director of inbound tourism division, Thomas Cook group.

Karan Anand, head (relationships), Cox & Kings, said: "We are not seeing any cancellations from tourists at this point. Even domestic tourists are avoiding Delhi".

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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. The levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10, which are ultrafine particulates, remained multiple times above the permissible limits, forcing people to breathe noxious air and triggering health complications. All schools have been shut down in the city through Sunday.

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