Virgin Atlantic launches new India flying from…

Virgin Atlantic launches new India flying from Manchester
2020-10-19 10:53:00
Virgin Atlantic is delighted to announce it will be launching services to Delhi and Mumbai from Manchester as the airline ramps up flying from its home in the north.   Flying three times a week from Manchester to Mumbai beginning in December and twice weekly to Delhi starting in January, these new services will go on sale on 20th October. 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 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 fast, efficient 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. 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 looks forward to resuming its Manchester to Barbados service on 26th October, followed by its first flight from Manchester to Islamabad launching on 10th December. Route details: Manchester to Mumbai Frequency: Three times a week (Mon, Wed, Sat) starting on 19th December 2020 Flight number: VS326 / VS327 Aircraft type: Boeing 787-9 – 31 Upper Class. 35 Premium and 192 Economy Delight, Classic and Light Fare: Return Economy fares start from £473 per person, Premium from £733, and Upper Class from £2,481 The new Mumbai service will benefit the 58,757 passengers from Manchester Airport’s vast catchment area that travel to the city indirectly each year. Manchester to Delhi Frequency: Twice a week (Tues, Fri) starting on 5th January 2021 Flight number: VS324 / VS325 Aircraft type: Boeing 787-9 – 31 Upper Class. 35 Premium and 192 Economy Delight, Classic and Light from £480 per person, Premium from £1,135 and Upper Class from £2,512 The new Delhi service will benefit the 180,000 people from Manchester Airport’s vast catchment area that travel to the city indirectly each year. 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.   The airline is offering a hot food service in all cabins including special meals catering for individual dietary requirements such Halal, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free. Meals have been redesigned to limit interaction, enclosed and controlled from preparation in a Covid-safe, monitored environment to the moment it is served. Economy and Premium Economy customers will now enjoy a “Fly safe, eat well” meal box, which incorporates a choice of two hot meals, cheese and biscuits and a dessert pot washed down with a selection of beverages. Upper Class customers will receive a choice of three hot meals, desserts, including cheese & biscuits and a ciabatta roll, all delivered to their seat on a tray. All customers will receive a second meal service which, on day flights from the UK, includes the delicious Mile High Tea in collaboration with celebrity pâtissier Eric Lanlard. Flights are on sale from 20th October. For further information visit www.virginatlantic.com   Supportive comments: Jo Ahmed, Partner Deloitte LLP and Honorary Consul of Japan in Manchester, said: “The news of direct flights being reinstated to India is a significant step towards Greater Manchester’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and particularly important as we look to strengthen bilateral ties in a post Brexit world and drive economic benefit for the region.”  Dr. Kondal Reddy Kandadi, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton said: “We are delighted with the announcement of new direct routes between Manchester and Indian cities by Virgin Atlantic and Manchester Airport. This will further strengthen connections between India, Manchester and the wider Northern Powerhouse region. These new connections are timely to boost educational, business and cultural links between Manchester and India, particularly in the post-Brexit and post-pandemic economic recovery and prosperity. This will immensely benefit thousands of Indian students coming to the region to study, half a million Indian diaspora living here, and over 100 Indian companies doing business across the region.”   Tim Newns, CEO, MIDAS said: “Direct connectivity has always been a crucial mechanism to strengthen and accelerate global partnerships and as a founding member of the Manchester India Partnership, the new direct services to Mumbai and Delhi from Manchester are warmly received by MIDAS, as we continue to battle the global pandemic. Internationalisation is at the heart of our recovery and with India being the second largest source of FDI in the UK the routes will enable us to reinforce and build on our existing success.”

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