Nearly five months after launching direct flights to Chicago, Air India has reported that the service has been well received by passengers and is performing well. “There has been an increase in the number of passengers travelling. There has also been an increase in first class and business class customers. The flight has been very well received and the public is very happy,” Jude Crasto, the Manager of Air India in Chicago said. This improved performance is very much down to the reduced flight time after the airline decided to forego stop-offs in Frankfurt, Germany.This is good news for the national carrier, but only a minor success story in a bleak big picture. Steep oil prices are squeezing the margins of every airline, and Air India has been granted a little respite from public sector oil companies when it received a month’s extension to repay its dues worth INR2,400 crore.