Both Dallas and Houston have long been waiting for direct flights from Texas to India. Neither of DFW International Airport and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport has direct air connectivity to India, though each of the both Texan airports offers nonstop service to over 50 major cities across the world.
Texas Governor, Greg Abbott found himself stuck between Houston and Dallas when it came to considering the demand for nonstop flights to India made by both – Indians in Houston and Dallas Indians, before he left for a 9-day trip to India in March 2018. A direct link to India from Texas was a matter of discussion during his meeting with Suresh Prabhu, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation.
The meeting was concluded, with Greg Abbott saying, “When I get home, it’s going to be one of the issues I focus on. … I’m going to have Houston and Dallas battle it out and let the respective airlines battle it out,” according to Dallasnews.com.
In August 2019, the proposed, expected and awaited direct air connectivity to India from Texas has culminated in a Houston vs Dallas battle. It is highly speculated that with the consul general of India being in Houston, the prospects are better in favor of Houston Indians than Indians in Dallas.
On the other hand, the US IMPACT (US Indo-American Members Political Action Committee of Texas) launched a petition to collect minimum 50,000 signatures, before Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Houston in September, in order to make Dallas to India direct flights a reality.
With no fewer than 50,000 signatures, the petition titled “DFW2India” will be submitted to India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Air India’s Chairman Ashwani Lohani, Texas Governor, Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian, and American Airlines CEO. The petition will also be presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Houston visit. The objective of the petition is that the direct connectivity to India from Dallas, Texas is no more a desire; rather a need.
The petition DFW2India requires Indians/Indian-origin people in and around Dallas to furnish the petition form with certain details like how frequently they traveled to India in the past 3 years, what their preferred Indian destination is (Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata), what kind of trip to India they make – personal or business, and their personal reason for supporting the cause of starting direct flights to India from Dallas, Texas.
“India is definitely up there on DFW Airport’s list of target international destinations,” said John Ackerman, the executive vice president of global strategy and development. Currently, a few airlines offer one-stop service from DFW International Airport to 13 Indian cities. The size of Dallas’ Indian populace is bigger than the number of Indians in Houston by a few thousands, as per the 2017 data.
If the fulcrum of interest tilts towards Houston, either United Airlines or Air India will operate nonstop flights from Houston to India. If Dallas is favored, either American Airlines or Air India will provide direct flights to India from Dallas. In March 2019, American Airlines was planning to make a comeback to India with direct service from any of its US hubs.
“In November 2018, the Federation of Indian American Associations of Georgia presented a memorandum to Indian government, seeking assistance to make Air India operate direct flights from Atlanta to India. But, there is yet no response from the government of India. Hope, the petition seeking signatures in support of direct flights from Dallas to India meets with success,” said the editor of Travel Beats, a subsidiary of Indian Eagle Travel, a most trusted air-ticketing partner of Indians in USA.