India-UK frequency to be bolstered to 49 non-stop flights per week.
NEW DELHI – Air India, India’s leading airline and a Star Alliance member, launched its first-ever non-stop flight to London Gatwick, from Amritsar. It has now become the first and only Indian airline to operate at Gatwick Airport – the second-largest airport in the UK. The services to Gatwick are in line with Air India’s ongoing endeavour of enhancing connectivity between India’s major cities and leading global destinations to provide more choices to its passengers.
Equipped with 18 Business class seats featuring fully-flat beds and 238 Economy class seats, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner will be operating three flights a week on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday from Amritsar. In addition to the flights from Amritsar, Air India will operate 9 other weekly flights scheduled from Ahmedabad, Goa, and Kochi – making it a total of 12 weekly flights to Gatwick. These operations will reaffirm Air India’s operations, presence, and network in the UK. In total, the airline now operates 49 flights in the UK per week – 43 flights to London (Heathrow and Gatwick) and six flights to Birmingham. Air India also operates 31 weekly flights to Heathrow, London from Delhi and Mumbai.
The Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, General (Retd) V.K. Singh, and BJP National Secretary, Punjab, Mr. Tarun Chugh graced the virtual inauguration ceremony of the flight. They flagged it off along with Mr. Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Civil Aviation, and Air India CEO & MD Campbell Wilson.
On the occasion, Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, said, “It is a historic day for Amritsar and Punjab. This new connection will bring a new impetus to the state and provide key connectivity with the UK, bringing people closer. This will also boost trade and tourism and open up new employment opportunities.”
Mr. Jyotiraditya M. Scindia also commended Air India for the fleet acquisition plan and expressed hope that Air India will soon connect all the continents and make India the global hub of aviation.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Campbell Wilson, CEO & MD, said, “As part of our five-year transformation plan, Vihaan.AI, we plan to significantly enhance connectivity between India’s major cities and prime global destinations and be acknowledged as India’s Flying Ambassador to the world. These flights will also fulfil the growing demand for direct air connectivity from various important destinations in India to the UK and from the UK to these popular cities in India.”
In the events held to mark the launch at Amritsar’s Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry Shri Som Prakash, MLA Shri Sardar Sukhwinder Singh, and Secretary – Civil Aviation Department (Punjab) Shri Malwinder Singh Jaggi lit the ceremonial lamp followed by a ribbon-cutting. The boarding pass was presented to the first passenger reporting for the flight from Amritsar. The ceremony was attended by dignitaries and senior officials from Air India, Airports Authority of India, and other organizations, as well as passengers.
The first flight AI 169 from Amritsar to Gatwick departed on time at 1320 hrs and will arrive in Gatwick at a convenient 1755 hrs on the same day. Earlier, AI 170 had taken off from Gatwick at 2140 hrs to arrive in Amritsar at 1015 hrs (All Local Time).
Overall, Air India operates 80 flights per week to seven major cities in the UK and Europe and has relaunched flights to some of the prime European destinations such as Milan, Vienna, and Copenhagen.
The flights are now available for booking on the Air India website and mobile apps, as well as through authorised travel agents and other booking channels.
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