United suspending flights to New Delhi over air pollution

See how bad Delhi's pollution

See how bad Delhi's pollution

US-based passenger carrier United Airlines on Saturday said it has temporarily suspended its Newark-New Delhi flights due to poor air quality concerns in New Delhi. The airline will continue to monitor the crisis and advises the public to watch for updates, a United airlines spokesperson told to DNA India. United operates 267-seat Boeing 777 aircraft on the route, with a journey time of over 14 hours.

Passengers will be given vouchers to switch flights, or given assistance in flying with a different airline.

United Airline, while issuing a travel waiver for its customers with tickets to Delhi from November 9 through November 13, said customers could re-book these tickets on or before November 18 at no additional cost.

Earlier, the airline was offering waivers on rescheduling tickets.

So far Tour operators were not affected but the Assocham Industry chamber on Friday said foreign tourists might skip Delhi in favor of other cleaner destinations.

Karan Anand, head-relationships, Cox & Kings, "We are not seeing any cancellations from tourists at this point. Guests are arriving according to schedule and they move out of Delhi immediately, so there is no cause for concern". In the wake of such negative developments, Delhi is bound to drop off the map of worldwide tourists, who might pick "cleaner" South Asian destinations.

Indian joggers exercise on a smoggy morning near the India Gate monument in New Delhi.

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. Beijing, China - a city with the dubious distinction of having some of the worst air in the world - had PM 2.5 readings of around 200 µg/m3 on Saturday.

Besides hampering visibility on road, the situation has become a public health emergency, and prompted schools to shut down in its wake.

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