British premier carrier Virgin Atlantic on Thursday announced launch of flight services from India to Manchester, which has a sizable population of Indian origin people, starting December 20.
Virgin Atlantic will be launching services from Delhi and Mumbai to Manchester as the airline ramps up flying from its home in the north of England, a statement said.
Flying three times a week from Mumbai to Manchester, beginning in December, and twice weekly from Delhi, starting in January, these new services will go on sale from October 20 and will complement the airline’s existing services from Mumbai and Delhi to London Heathrow, it said.
The airline will operate one of its newest and fuel efficient aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, on these new routes, the statement added.
The now-defunct Jet Airways used to fly to Manchester, the UK’s third-largest airport by passenger volume, connecting Mumbai with the northwest city of England. However, since its collapse in April 2019, the destination remains untapped from India.
Besides flying passengers, Virgin Atlantic will also offer a fast cargo service presenting new opportunities for companies looking to export and import goods such as fresh produce, pharmaceuticals and textiles between prime markets in the UK, US and India, the airline said.
“We’re delighted to launch new flying from our home in the north in Manchester. India boasts the largest foreign-born population in the UK and we’re anticipating that post COVID-19, the demand to travel home to visit loved ones will increase,” Virgin Atlantic Chief Commercial Officer Juha Jarvinen said.
Following the relaunch of services from Heathrow to Mumbai and Delhi in September, these new services from Manchester represent Virgin Atlantic’s continued investment in India, he added.
With over 16 million Indians living outside the country and 5,00,000 living across the north of England, India has the world’s largest diaspora, Virgin Atlantic said.
“We are excited to welcome passengers onboard Virgin Atlantic services from Delhi and Mumbai to Manchester for the very first time. Manchester is our home in the north of England and is positioned as a fantastic hub for onward travel,” said Alex McEwan, Country Manager for India at Virgin Atlantic.
These new services will open up over 1,30,000 seats between India and Manchester and the airline aims to respond to the large, fast-growing demand to visit friends and relatives as well as capturing demand for business and leisure travel to the region as global economies gradually recover from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, Virgin Atlantic said.