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hindu kush: Hindu Kush route starts saving time, money on Air India nonstops between Delhi and the west

NEW DELHI: Since the closure of Afghan airspace for commercial flights in mid-August, Delhi-London’s flying time had increased to almost 9.5 hours. Airlines are taking the longer route via south Pakistan (below Afghanistan) and then entering Iran-Turkey-beyond instead of the shorter Pakistan-Afghanistan-Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan flight path earlier.
But on October 7, Air India’s AI 111 flew from Delhi to London in just over 8.5 hours thanks to the airline beginning to take a new route — over the mighty Hindu Kush ranges — for its nonstops between Delhi and UK and North America. AI 111 of October 4 had taken over 9.5 hours as it took the pst mid-August longer route.

AI 111 Delhi-London. October 4 2021, takes the route being taken since Afghan airspace closure for commercial flights in mid-August.
Flight time: 9 hours and 37 minutes
“On a return North America flight, we will save 4 tonnes of fuel (1 tonne while going and 3 on return). On a return UK flight, the saving will be 2.5 tonnes. At the moment due to travel restrictions in the US (that lift from early November), the number of flights is not very high. Still, we will save 30 tonnes per week using the Hindu Kush route. At $800 per tonne, the weekly saving is $24,000 or about Rs 18 lakh at the current exchange rate. As restrictions are lifted and we mount more flights to North America, the savings will multiply. Once Afghan airspace reopens, we will take the old route,” AI officials had recently told TOI.

AI 111 Delhi-London. October 7, 2021, takes the Hindu Kush route from Delhi to London.
Flight time: 8 hours and 41 minutes
Carrying less fuel will mean more payload in terms of passengers and/or cargo. So the benefit of, say 4 tonnes, the saving will be double — carrying this much less fuel and instead of taking the same amount of extra payload.
Here’s the flight path that shows exactly what difference and how the Hindu Kush route has made for AI nonstops.



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