Disinvest bound national carrier Air India is mulling launching a flight service to London Stansted from the country’s financial capital- Mumbai, said a senior airline official. In the past six months, the airline has launched nine flights to International destinations.
Currently operating a flight to Stansted from Amritsar, Air India has also operations to London Heathrow from Mumbai. Despite British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flying to London from Mumbai, air passenger traffic on the Mumbai-London route has spiked 25 per cent in the last five years, with an expectation to rise further by 27 per cent this fiscal year, following the resumption of services on the route by Virgin Atlantic.
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Air India Regional Director Ravi Bodade said that “There is a need for more traffic to London region. However, due to the slot constraint issues at the London Heathrow, we are not able to add new flights on the Mumbai-London route. There are options to go to London Stansted from Mumbai. We are evaluating this route”.
Customers are wary of booking tickets well in advance given Air India’s current situation.
Further adding on, Bodade said that currently, Air India is carrying out the route feasibility study such as the passenger traffic, aircraft type and frequency of operations, among others to help make the carrier take a decision on this issue very soon. With Air India considering deploying its flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner to operate the service on the route, the bilateral flying rights between India and London restrict the number of flights to 56 from the two major cities- Delhi and Mumbai. However, after Jet airways and Cox & Kings’ collapse, customers are wary of booking tickets well in advance.
NEWS: The Indian Government are to sell their 100% stake in struggling Air India as a “strategic disinvestment” as announced on Thursday by India’s Civil Aviation Minister (1/3)
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Addressing this issue, an official of the carrier stated “yes, passengers and agents have concerns over operations of Air India after (the collapse of) Jet Airways but we do keep assuring than that Air India is a going concern and we will be flying. We have a mandate to continue our work till the disinvestment, and we are doing that. Even if the ownership changes, we will continue to work”.