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United scrubs Newark-Delhi flight citing poor air quality

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See how bad Delhi's pollution

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks India 40th out of 136 countries overall, and worldwide, Delhi is ranked at 28 by the number of foreign tourist arrivals.

Concerns of poor air quality over Delhi have prompted foreign governments to put out travel advisories and led to at least one global airline, the US-based United Airline, temporarily suspending its flights citing "severe weather conditions".

United said the city's air conditions were severe enough to be considered a natural disaster, and to be avoided like a hurricane or wildfire would be.

New Delhi's Indira Gandhi Airport is by far the busiest in India handling more than 30 million passengers annually compared to Mumbai's 23 million and Bangalore's 12 million in second and third place.

"We are monitoring advisories as the region remains under a public health emergency, and are coordinating with respective government agencies", a company statement said on Saturday.

The airline is transferring affected passengers to other airlines.

The city's air quality worsened ahead of winter as cooler air traps pollutants near the ground, preventing them from dispersing into the atmosphere.

Illegal crop-burning by farmers in the neighbouring states has been blamed as the main source of the hazardous pollution.

A photo of New Delhi Streets taken November 8, 2017. But poor air quality, declared as a health emergency, has prompted it to call off its services for now. Weather related issues are usually on top of the list, but even there, cancellations are mostly attributed to freak storms, rain, and wind. More than 6,000 schools have been closed, construction plans are on hold and driving is restricted until levels go lower. In recent days, however, the city's situation has reached new lows. If you want to protect people, we should be ordering the evacuation of Delhi.

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