Virgin Atlantic is relaunching flights between London Heathrow (LHR) and Mumbai (BOM) following the grounding of Jet Airways.
The service also gives the carrier an opportunity to tap what it says is a thriving cargo route for customers in India, the UK and US.
The first service is set to commence on 27 October 2019 and will complement the airline’s long-established route between London and Delhi.
Virgin says the daily service will not only enhance a vital link between India’s commercial centre and the UK’s capital, it also provides seamless connections via Heathrow between India and the US. The new flights will depart and arrive Heathrow in the morning to align with connecting passenger and cargo flows to and from US.
The Mumbai flights will be operated on Virgin Atlantic’s B787-9 aircraft, providing up to 26 tonnes of cargo capacity.
Juha Jarvinen, executive VP, Commercial, at Virgin Atlantic, comments; “2019 marks a significant period of growth for Virgin Atlantic and I’m delighted that we’re continuing to expand our route network once more, by returning to Mumbai.
“Until recently, we’ve been able to serve this important market through our partnership with Jet Airways, however, since Jet Airways has sadly suspended its operation, we now have an opportunity to provide alternative options for our customers and meet this demand.”
Dominic Kennedy, managing director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo, says: “We have given our cargo customers direct access to the vibrant cargo market in India for 19 years and, in 2018, our cargo revenues ex India rose 10 per cent as support grew for our daily Delhi flights.
“The Mumbai market is equally buoyant,” Kennedy says, adding that in the last four years, the overall market from Mumbai to the UK and US has increased by more than 50 per cent in revenue terms, alongside increases of 46 per cent to India from both countries.
“When we resume Mumbai operations in October, we aim to win a strong share of this growing market, supported by our fast and easy connections over London to and from major cities across US and our enhanced capabilities for handling pharmaceuticals, one of the main types of shipments ex-Mumbai. More capacity is great news for our import and export customers,” he adds.
The new Mumbai flights mark Virgin Atlantic’s 27th daily service from London Heathrow and its third new route announcement this year. Flights to Tel Aviv, Israel, are due to commence in September 2019, with flights to São Paulo, Brazil, starting in 2020, marking the airline’s first venture into South America.
Together with partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic offers customers what it says is unrivalled choice of US destinations and the leading transatlantic service from London Heathrow. Both airlines offer over 28 daily flights between London and the US.