United Airlines Temporarily Suspends Operations to Delhi Citing Pollution Hazard

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

The air pollution in India's capital has reached such unsafe levels, at least one airline is temporarily canceling flights there.

As toxic smog enshrouds India's capital, United Airlines has temporarily suspended all flights between Newark, N.J. and New Delhi through the weekend. According to reports, in a bid to not miff its passengers, the airline is also offering travel waivers.

"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. United operates 267-seat Boeing 777 aircraft on the route, with a journey time of over 14 hours. It said they are monitoring the situation and are coordinating with concerned government agencies.

The airline company now has waiver policies in place for customers who are traveling to, from or through Delhi, informed a United Airlines spokesperson.

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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. The airline will continue to monitor the crisis and advises the public to watch for updates, a United airlines spokesperson told to DNA India.

It is not known if competing airlines like Virgin Atlantic, Etihad and KLM offered any similar waiver. "Even domestic tourists are avoiding Delhi".

Air quality readings in New Delhi have soared in recent days with monitors showing levels of PM10, or suspended particles smaller than 10 micrometres, over 45 times the limit the World Health Organization considers to be safe. One Delhi official said that the pollution is so bad that the city has turned into a "gas chamber".

However, on Saturday, the smog levels decreased but pollutants in the air remained in the "severe" category.

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