Delhi air pollution: United suspends flights to capital, cites 'severe weather'

United suspends flights to smog-filled Delhi	 	 	 			Breathing in Delhi air equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes a day

The carrier operates flights from Newark to Delhi and Mumbai."Due to air quality concerns in Delhi, India, we anticipate possible delays and cancellations throughout the weekend , As Reported By Hindustan Times".

Concerns of poor air quality over Delhi have prompted foreign governments to put out travel advisories and led to at least one global airline, the US-based United Airline, temporarily suspending its flights citing "severe weather conditions".

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

"United temporarily suspended Newark-Delhi flights due to poor air quality concerns in Delhi and now has waiver policies in place for customers who are travelling to, from or through Delhi", an airline spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday. They said they are monitoring the situation and are coordinating with concerned government agencies.

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A flight advisory has been posted on United's website, allowing passengers to waive the "change fee and any difference in fare" for United flights departing "on or before November 18, 2017, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed".

It is not known if competing airlines Virgin Atlantic, Etihad and KLM offered any similar waiver.

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. "However, there have been no cancellations in bookings", Dipak Deva, managing director of inbound tourism division, Thomas Cook group, told BS. In the wake of such negative developments, Delhi is bound to drop off the map of global tourists, who might pick "cleaner" South Asian destinations.

Delhi and parts of other North Indian states have been engulfed in smog since Monday, raising serious health concern. Air pollutants, especially PM 2.5 and PM10 levels have been over ten times higher than permissible. Delhi schools were also shut for the week.

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