American Airlines to start Seattle – Bangalore; big connectivity over Seattle

American Airlines to start Seattle – Bangalore; big connectivity over Seattle

American Airlines’ new Seattle – Bangalore service will benefit from Seattle – Bangalore P2P demand (36,000) and strong connectivity over Seattle with Alaska Airlines. It will also potentially be good for the 170,000+ Seattle – India passengers.

American Airlines will begin Seattle – Bangalore from October.  It will be Seattle’s first service to India and North America’s only non-stop service to Bangalore, India’s ‘Silicon Valley’.  It will mean that 15 non-stop routes across five airlines will operate between North America and India this year.

Bangalore highly desired by American’s corporate accounts

Operated by the 285-seat Boeing 787-9, American’s SVP of network strategy said that Bangalore is highly desired from its corporate accounts.  Seattle – Bangalore will be about 1,000 miles shorter non-stop each way than over Dubai with airport-pair leader Emirates.  It will mark the first time American Airlines has returned to India since 2012. 

Two primary sources of demand

There will be two primary sources of demand and a potential third:

  1. Local Seattle – Bangalore – Seattle passengers: 36,000 in the year to November 2019
  2. Those transiting over Seattle (beyond/behind) with Alaska Airlines, which will join oneworld from 2021 and therefore become closer to American Airlines
  3. Seattle – India traffic generally, depending on commercial agreements, with over 170,000 passengers carried.  OAG Traffic Analyser shows that Bangalore is Seattle’s fourth-largest Indian market, behind Delhi (59,000), Hyderabad (38,000), and Mumbai (37,000).

At the time of writing, Seattle – Bangalore timings aren’t known, so it’s not possible to analyse all potential connections, traffic, and fares over Seattle.  However, the Washington airport is a large hub for Alaska Airlines, with all of its routes and those of American Airlines (except to Alaska and Hawaii) in the week of 17 February 2020 shown below.  In reality, of course, there will be far fewer available on a two-way basis with competitive timings.  California and Texas, in particular, are likely to be key for O&D. 

American Airlines to start Seattle – Bangalore; two main sources of demand

Source: OAG Mapper. All Alaska Airlines and American Airlines routes from Seattle excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

North America – India has almost 6.9 million passengers

Almost 6.9 million people flew from North America to India in the 12 months to November 2019.  The non-stop market is fast-growing but from a relatively low base, as shown below.  Since the 12 months to November 2016, US – India non-stop traffic grew by an estimated CAGR of 8% and Canada – India 20%.

Year North America – India non-stop routes* Non-stop airlines
2016 8 3
2017 10 3
2018 11 3
2019 14 4
2020** 15 5
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser. * Based on airline routes versus unique routes. ** So far.

14 non-stop routes in 2019 from three new routes 

Air India, United Airlines, Air Canada, and Delta Air Lines collectively operated 14 non-stop routes between North America and India last year.  Three routes were added/reintroduced: Air India Delhi – Toronto (from September; last served 2012); Delta Air Lines New York JFK – Mumbai (from December); and United Airlines San Francisco – Delhi (December). Of these 14, only 10 are unique; these are shown below along with American’s coming Seattle – Bangalore service.

American Airlines to start Seattle – Bangalore (2)

Source: OAG Mapper.  Yellow = America’s coming Seattle – Bangalore service.

Air India by far the #1 airline

Air India has nearly three times as many total non-stop seats (1,127,800) as number-two, Air Canada (410,300).  United Airlines (339,500) and Delta Air Lines (4,600) follow.  Delta’s is, of course, because its New York JFK – Mumbai didn’t start until nearly the end of the year. Air India has seven routes from India, mainly linking key Star Alliance hubs of Chicago O’Hare, Newark, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington Dulles.  Although there are very few seats between them, Air India’s Delhi – Chicago O’Hare is the top non-stop market it is served daily by the B777-300ER.  However, on an airport-pair basis and not broken down by airline, Mumbai – Newark is by far the largest non-stop market by seats. Of course, many will connect over Newark.

American Airlines to start Seattle – Bangalore; two main sources of demand

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.


  1. S. Krishnaswamy says:

    As a Bangalurean I feel proud of Seattle – Bangalore direct flight by American airlines from October. This one is most prestigious and most deserving route. Wishing the launch all the best.

  2. Bhatara Atul says:

    excellent article & proposition.

  3. Rajesh says:

    I think that there’s two things that make this route possible:
    1.) Their connectivity with Alaska now – Alaska flies a lot of niche routes, (SJC-SEA, SAN-SEA, AUS-SEA) connecting other tech hubs in the country with very high frequencies. So does Delta for that matter, but they don’t have the capacity that Alaska does. American really needs a codeshare, and has to time this flight well if they have any chance at making this route work.
    2.) Lucrative contract with Microsoft or Amazon – this is honestly the most crucial thing that will drive this route – Seattle does not have the Indian population that other areas (Bay Area, New York, Texas) have so the primary motivation seems to be a route that connects tech cities. If they don’t have a contract, then this route becomes pretty difficult.

    I do believe that this route will be successful, but American HAS to play the cards correctly. I think a partnership with an Indian carrier that has a reasonably big presence in Bangalore (IndiGo, Vistara, or Spicejet) would really help – Bangalore has great connectivity to other tech cities in India (Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai).

    While I don’t see Delta launching this route (they’re very conservative with their long-haul expansion – if SEA-HKG didn’t work, this definitely won’t work for them), I can definitely see United launching a SFO-BLR route if they can score a contract with a tech company in the Bay – they have excellent connectivity in India with Air India and Vistara, and imo would be an even better route than Seattle.

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