Virgin Atlantic Launches New Manchester To India Routes

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Virgin Atlantic is taking one step closer to recovery by announcing that it will launch two new routes to India. The first route connecting Manchester to Mumbai will launch on December 19th, while a second route to Delhi will launch on January 5th, 2021. Tickets will go on sale later this month.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 dreamliner India
Virgin Atlantic will use a Dreamliner on both routes from Manchester to India. Photo: Getty Images

As Virgin Atlantic has completed its recapitalization, it can now look to the future and begin trying to recover from the impact of the global downturn. The airline confirmed it would be running a smaller operation than before and that all routes will be analyzed based on revenue potential.

In a statement released today, the airline confirmed that at least two of its future routes will connect Manchester to India. According to the statement,

These new services will open up over 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.”

Qantas may also select it for operation sunset.

Flight details

Virgin Atlantic will operate a flight from Manchester to Mumbai three times per week starting in mid-December. Flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays using a Boeing 787-9. Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787-9 has 227 seats.  Prices begin at £473 return and go up to £2,481 return for an Upper Class seat.

virgin-atlantic-787-dreamliner
The airline will operate a smaller fleet in the future as it tries to recover financially. Photo: Tomas Del Coro via Wikimedia Commons

A similar flight, also using a Boeing 787-9, will connect Manchester to Delhi beginning in the first week of 2021. This flight will only operate twice per week on Tuesdays and Fridays. The fare starts at £480 per person and rises to £2512 for upper-class tickets. Tickets for both flights will go on sale from October 20th.

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Other Virgin Atlantic routes

The airline will continue to operate its flights from London Heathrow as it has found India a popular route. In addition, the airline will be resuming several other flights from its Manchester base. These include flights to Barbados, which will resume on October 26th, and flights to Islamabad from December 10th.

Virgin Atlantic A350
Virgin is hoping the UK government will do more to encourage passengers to fly on transatlantic routes. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

London Heathrow will also see an increase in Virgin Atlantic routes over the coming months, with flights to Islamabad and Lahore launching on December 12th and 13th, respectively. The slew of new flights comes after Virgin Atlantic grounded its fleet for three months and ran into some pretty serious financial difficulties.

Virgin Atlantic is set to be a more streamlined version of the pre-COVID-19 airline of old with a fleet of just 37 planes. The new routes to India are a good start, but the airline needs its transatlantic routes to pick up soon. Transatlantic routes are the bread and butter of Virgin Atlantic’s revenue – the clue is in the name.

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The airline recently called for the UK government to put more effort into building confidence in transatlantic routes. Travel restrictions and rising cases in the US mean the market is slow. If Virgin Atlantic is to recover, it needs its primary market to see an increase in demand.

What do you think of Virgin Atlantic’s new routes? Will routes to India be enough to sustain the airline during the low demand for transatlantic routes? Get in touch and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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