About 3 years after Virgin Atlantic last flew out of Mumbai, its making a comeback. From 28th October 2012, Virgin Atlantic plans to offer an Airbus 330 service from between Mumbai and London Heathrow. The airline will fly from London in the morning at 10 AM and from Mumbai at 3 AM, thus following the same schedule as Jet Airways and British Airways offer on this city pair.
The announcement popped up on the Virgin Atlantic website today, and reservations will be offered from 4th April 2012.
Clearly, this decision must have been taken much before wannabe Richard Branson (Vijay Mallya’s) Kingfisher Airlines decided to pull out of the London market. There is a lot of traffic on this route, not just because of the Indian diaspora in London but also financial hubs and connecting traffic. Virgin Atlantic plans to offer connections to US cities including New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington DC. It also plans to offer the Indianised service for the benefit of the Indian guests.
The unintended implications of this move will be felt on Jet Airways, who had a codeshare agreement with Virgin Atlantic on the BOM-LHR route, which clearly looks like it is not needed any more.
In a market where a lot of airlines are curtailing capacity to India, Virgin Atlantic will sure win a lot of hearts with this move if nothing else!