Virgin relaunching London to Mumbai flight after Jet Airways grounding


Virgin Atlantic has become the latest airline to seek to capitalise on the grounding of the Indian carrier, Jet Airways, by re-launching its link from Heathrow to Mumbai.

Jet Airways ended all flights on 11 April. The carrier is technically still a going concern, because it has not formally filed for bankruptcy.

The airline founded by Sir Richard Branson first flew to India’s biggest city in 2005, but withdrew amid intense competition.

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The Heathrow-Mumbai link was restored in 2012 but dropped again three years later, when Virgin Atlantic entered a “codeshare” agreement to put passengers on Jet Airways’ twice-daily service on the route.

At the start of the winter schedules, on 27 October 2019, a daily service using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner will begin, complementing the airline’s long-established route between Heathrow and Delhi.

Juha Jarvinen, executive vice-president commercial at Virgin Atlantic said: “Since Jet Airways has sadly suspended its operation, we now have an opportunity to provide alternative options for our customers and meet this demand.

“Not only are we providing an increased offering to the thriving Indian market, but together with our partners at Delta, we can offer unrivalled choice and more seamless connections to the USA via Heathrow.”

The flight will depart from Heathrow at 10.15am, with a flying time of around 10 hours and arrival scheduled for 12.40am next day.

The inbound service is uncomfortably timed to depart from Mumbai at 2.55am, but arrives at Heathrow at 7.35am, which is good timing for business travellers heading for London and passengers transferring to transatlantic flights. 

In June, British Airways will scrap its daytime South Africa flights to cash in on the collapse of Jet Airways, adding an extra flight to Mumbai.

Rumours circulating in India suggest that the billionaire brothers, Gopichand and Srichand Hinduja, may be interested in taking over Jet Airways, along with its debts of around £1bn.

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