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United Airlines suspends Newark-Delhi flight due to pollution concerns
12 November 2017, 02:23 | Austin Hogan
United suspends flights to smog-filled Delhi Breathing in Delhi air equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes a day
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".
The carrier operates flights to Newark from Delhi and Mumbai.
With pollution levels in Delhi still at "severe" for the fifth day in a row, United Airlines today temporarily suspended its flights from Newark to Delhi.
Indian joggers exercise on a smoggy morning near the India Gate monument in New Delhi.
Passengers will be given vouchers to switch flights, or given assistance in flying with a different airline.
Delhi has been enveloped in a haze of smog since Monday night, as air quality across most parts of the national capital deteriorated to "severe" levels.
ANI news agency quoted a United spokesperson as saying "the airline is monitoring advisories as the region remains under a public health emergency, and are coordinating with respective government agencies".
Illegal crop-burning by farmers in the neighbouring states has been blamed as the main source of the hazardous pollution. It has also been ranked the 9th busiest airport in Asia and the 20th busiest in the world, and it has racked up awards in recent times for design and maintenance. Vehicle and industrial emissions make the air quality risky to lung and heart health-a 2015 study found that half of Delhi's 4.4 million schoolchildren have diminished lung capacity. Weather related issues are usually on top of the list, but even there, cancellations are mostly attributed to freak storms, rain, and wind.
Besides hampering visibility on road, the situation has become a public health emergency, and prompted schools to shut down in its wake.
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