Earlier this year Air India launched its first route to London’s Stansted Airport. However, it looks as though the airline could look to operate another route to the Essex airport. This time from Mumbai, potentially starting before April.
Air India is keen on expanding its operations to London. However, slots at Heathrow and Gatwick Airport are few and far between, attracting a fairly high cost. The solution? London Stansted Airport has very few long-haul flights, yet plenty of space for further operations. Air India could add to its Stansted operations in order to increase capacity into London.
What do we know?
According to Livemint, Air India’s Regional Director Ravi Bodade commented that the Indian flag carrier has an interest in flying to London’s low-cost hub from Mumbai. The airline is reportedly already studying the feasibility of launching such a route to the London area.
According to reports, Mr. Bodade commented to Livemint:
“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.”
Indeed, while the carrier is evaluating the route, it is said that services could commence as soon as during the IATA winter schedule. This ends after the 28th of March, meaning that we could see a second Air India service at Stansted before April.
Why Stansted makes sense
To a certain degree, it makes perfect sense for Air India to utilize London Stansted Airport in order to launch further flights to London. For starters, the airline launched its first route to Stansted on the 31st of October. As a result, the airport isn’t totally unknown to the Indian flag carrier.
Additionally, London Stansted has something that other major London airports do not. The airport has spare capacity, meaning it can easily accommodate new services. Indeed, the airport, home of low-cost giant Ryanair, has previously communicated its desire to receive more long-haul flights on many occasions.
Why don’t carrier’s flock to Stansted?
With Stansted’s availability to launch new flights, you may be wondering why carriers aren’t flocking to the airport to launch new services in droves. Unfortunately, while the airport is perfectly located for travelers in East Anglia, it is just slightly too far out from London.
It takes 49 minutes to get from Stansted Airport to central London via train. This is compared to just 15 minutes from London Heathrow, and 30 minutes from London Gatwick. Airlines know that after long flights, passengers don’t want long journeys to their destinations.
Should Air India use Stansted Airport to launch further London routes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!