American Plans Nonstop Route to India from Chicago

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- American Airlines plans its longest nonstop flight, from Chicago to Delhi, India, after agreeing with pilots on long-haul routes.

American said Tuesday it would begin service between O'Hare International Airport and Delhi on Nov. 15, pending government approval.

The route is nearly 7,500 miles. American plans to use 236-seat Boeing 777 aircraft for the trip.

Henry Joyner, American's senior vice president for planning, said the route was part of the airline's international growth strategy. Passenger and cargo traffic are growing rapidly in India.

Earlier Tuesday, the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American's pilots, said it had reached agreement with the carrier to allow the longer flights.

Ralph Hunter, the union president, said American must be a global airline to thrive, ''and this agreement is a big step towards that goal.''

American, a unit of Fort Worth-based AMR Corp., also said Tuesday it had agreed to negotiate with Indian carrier Air Sahara over selling seats on each other's flights, an arrangement known as code-sharing.

Under the agreement, members of American's and Air Sahara's frequent-flier programs would be able to earn and redeem miles on both airlines' networks.

The service to Delhi and the deal with Air Sahara come three months after the United States and India announced they had agreed to relax limits on carriers from each country operating in the other.

AMR shares fell 19 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $12.48 on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday.