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Monday, 12 August, 2019, 12 : 50 PM [IST]

Virgin Atlantic open to new code-share in India after Jet’s withdrawal

Expects to grow US-bound onward traffic with the launch of Mumbai-London daily flight
Virgin Atlantic is open to exploring all options in the India to grow its US-bound traffic after the sudden withdrawal of its code-share partner, Jet Airways, which led to drop in onward passengers. 

David Hodges, Commercial Manager, Virgin Atlantic India, said, “We stopped flying to Mumbai in 2014 having entered into a code-share agreement with Jet Airways. The plan was to grow that partnership. However, the situation changed quite drastically this year. Part of the reason of our Mumbai-London Heathrow service launch is the withdrawal of Jet from the market. We consider India as a great option in our growth story and the exit of Jet also necessitates reconsidering our code-share agreements, and we are open to explore all options, including partnership with local carriers.”

With the new daily Mumbai service starting October 27, UK-based carrier will offer onward connections to 200 destinations in the US with its trans-Atlantic partner, Delta Airlines. The flight will leave Mumbai at 3 am to land in London at 7.15 am, offering convenient departures for the US. “The big selling point of our Mumbai-London flight is the US connections. Our trans-Atlantic joint venture with Delta has been extended to Air France-KLM, and we see India as a big partner in our growth.”

According to Hodges, in the past 5 years, India has seen a surge of 23% in demand and 50% growth in capacity addition. “We will deploy our newest Dreamliner 787 on the Mumbai route with a configuration of 31 seats in Business Class, 35 in Premium and 192 in Economy, including 36 Economy Delight.”

In terms of route expansion in India at a time when the aviation market here is going through some major challenges, Hodges said that the Jet situation is not symptomatic of the Indian aviation market’s potential for growth. “Over a period of years India is poised to become the second biggest and we believe we can successful here. We have major plans in India and will evaluate the potential of markets like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Amritsar in the near future.”

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