Something that flew under my radar last week was that Virgin Atlantic is continuing to build out its Manchester Airport network, with plans formally to launch services to Mumbai and Delhi.
The new services will start from Manchester to Mumbai on 19th December and Delhi on 5th January 2021.
Planned operation is as follow
Manchester to Mumbai
VS326 DEPART MAN 09:35 ARRIVE BOM 00:05+1 VS327 DEPART BOM 02:45 ARRIVE MAN 07:15 Commences 19th December 2020 Operates Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from Manchester, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from Mumbai Booked Equipment: Boeing 787-9 (Three-Class)
Manchester to Delhi
VS324 DEPART MAN 10:50 ARRIVE DEL 00:30+1 VS325 DEPART DEL 02:20 ARRIVE MAN 06:10 Commences 5th January 2021 Operates Tuesdays and Fridays from Manchester, Wednesdays and Saturdays from Delhi. Booked Equipment: Boeing 787-9 (Three-Class)
Both flights will utilise a Boeing 787-9 aircraft on these routes, configured with 31 Upper Class seats, 35 Premium Economy and 192 Economy Delight/Classic/Light seats.
Lead-in prices vary per route:
- Mumbai – Return Economy fares start from £473 per person, Premium from £733, and Upper Class from £2,481
- Delhi – Return Economy fares start from £480 per person, Premium from £1,135 and Upper Class from £2,512
Flights are now on sale from today (20th October), complementing existing services out of London Heathrow.
These new services will open up over 130,000 seats between Manchester and India and aim 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 the Covid-19 pandemic. There will be opportunities for those looking to export and import goods, with the cargo space for sale too.
The move follows on from the planned resumption of services to Barbados service on 26th October, followed by the launch of Manchester to Islamabad launching 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.
Beyond the Atlantic
After years of growth building its connections with Delta (after a major retreat from various markets a few years ago), it is finally good to see Virgin Atlantic fleshing out its network beyond the Atlantic and looking at destinations that are not traditional for it.
The Manchester additions will fill in the gap left behind when Jet Airways collapsed, with no non-stop route completion (you can, of course, go via Heathrow, Paris, Frankfurt, Dubai, Qatar, etc, or go to Birmingham Airport for a non-stop flight to India).
With a large catchment in the area, it seems it is a good chance for Virgin Atlantic to carve out a good proportion of the traffic for itself.
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