International Flights Latest Updates: As the year 2020 is coming to an end in few days, Air India on Tuesday announced that it will start new services to the US from January in 2021. Issuing a statement, the airline stated that the first-ever non-stop services between Bengaluru and San Francisco as well as between Hyderabad and Chicago will start from January 9 and 13 next year, respectively.Also Read - N Chandrashekaran In Delhi, Air India's Official Takeover By Tata Group Today | Live Updates

“Passengers from Bengaluru and Hyderabad – both gateways to South India – will enjoy huge benefits travelling to San Francisco and Chicago as this will enable faster and easier connections,” the airline said in a statement. Also Read - Tata Group Announces 'Enhanced Meal Service' in First Step Since Takeover of Air India

Notably, Air India at present operates non-stop flights from Delhi to New York, Newark, Washington, San Francisco and Chicago and from Mumbai to Newark. Also Read - Breaking News LIVE: CM Kejriwal Urges Centre, LG to Initiate Strict Action on Accused in Delhi Woman Gangrape Case

With the announcement of the plans, Air India has put in competition with United and American, who plan to fly similar routes next year.

While this year has mostly seen reductions in Air India’s schedule, new plan is expected to grow the traffic. The two new routes are strategic choices by Air India, tapping into new markets and beating out the competition.

With no direct flights to any US city, including New York, the Hyderabad-Chicago is a notably unserved market. This makes a direct route a lucrative one for Air India, allowing it to carry much of the US-bound traffic from the city. On the other hand, the Chicago is also home to the second-largest Indian-American community in the country, making it a strong VFR (visiting family and relatives) destination.

Secondly, the Bangalore-San Francisco is another high-yield market that does not have direct flights. Hence, this service of Air India in this route will focus on business travel (with both cities being major IT hubs) and leisure and VFR travel.