Virgin Atlantic has announced it will be launching services to Delhi and Mumbai in India from Manchester as the airline ramps up flying from its home in the North.
The new services go on sale from 20th October, with thrice-weekly Mumbai flights first taking off on 19th December, and flights to Delhi commencing from 5th January, with a twice-weekly frequency. Currently over 200,000 people travel from Manchester Airport’s catchment collectively to the two cities using other routes.
With more than 16 million Indians living outside of their country and 500,000 living across the north of England, India has the world’s largest diaspora. These new services will open up more than 130,000 seats between Manchester and India and aim to respond to the large, fast-growing demand for flights 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 the Covid-19 pandemic.
As well as flying customers, Virgin Atlantic will offer a 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 routes to India are the latest to be added to Virgin Atlantic’s flights from Manchester Airport, with a new route to Barbados launching on 26th October, and flights to Islamabad, Pakistan, beginning on 10th December.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented:
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.
“Following the relaunch of services from Heathrow to Mumbai and Delhi in September 2020, these new services from Manchester represent our continued investment in India. Both Mumbai and Delhi are popular year-round destinations, and we look forward to welcoming travellers from the North and Midlands onboard as demand for leisure and business travel gradually increases to the region.”
Andrew Cowan, MAG COO and Chair of Manchester India Partnership, said:
Securing direct services to two major Indian cities will unlock a wide range of benefits to the whole of the North. I am sure the routes will prove popular with the more than 500,000 people of Indian origin living across the region, while helping to further strengthen trade and cultural ties in both directions.
“It is pleasing to see Virgin Atlantic make a further commitment to the North, following the recent announcement of its new service to Pakistan and building on the success of its routes to America and the Caribbean in recent years. This news is testament to the hard work done to establish closer links between the region and India through the Manchester India Partnership, especially in the fields of education, healthcare, tourism, business and sport.
“I look forward to launching these new, strategically important routes this winter. Customers can be reassured that both Manchester Airport and Virgin Atlantic have all the measures in place to ensure they are kept safe and secure at all stages of their journey.”
Virgin Atlantic restarted passenger flying on 20th July after a three-month hiatus due to the Covid-19. To ensure the health and safety of customers and crew, Virgin Atlantic is implementing additional measures to offer peace of mind in the airport and when taking to the skies. These include enhanced and thorough cleaning practices at check in, boarding gates and onboard including the use of electrostatic spraying of high-grade disinfectant in all cabins and lavatories before every flight, ensuring no surface is left untouched. Safe distancing will also be adhered to wherever possible, and mask wearing will be required throughout the journey. All customers will be provided with a personal Health Pack for their health and safety, which will contain three medical grade face masks to be worn onboard, surface wipes and hand gel.