United Airlines Halts Flights to New Delhi on Poor Air Quality

United Airlines temporarily suspended Newark-New Delhi flights due to poor air quality in India’s capital, and said some extra charges will be waived for passengers forced to reschedule.

“We are monitoring advisories as the region remains under a public health emergency, and are coordinating with respective government agencies,” a United Airlines spokesperson said in response to a Bloomberg query. 

Other airlines were still flying to the national capital and it was not clear if they will follow United Airlines’ move to suspend flights.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of Delhi, called the capital a “gas chamber” as thick toxic smog continued to envelop the mega-city of around 20 million people on Sunday. The levels of the deadliest, tiny particulate matter — known as PM 2.5, which lodges deep in a person’s lungs — soared to 676 at 2 p.m. local time, according to a U.S. embassy monitor. World Health Organization guidelines suggest levels above 300 are “hazardous.”

Customers traveling over the next several days should visit the United Airlines website or download the company’s mobile application for updates, the spokesperson said.

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