There was singing, dancing and even a cake at Manchester Airport this morning ahead of the departure of flight 9W129 – the first direct service between Manchester and Mumbai.
The new Jet Airways route will initially operate five days a week, with the potential to connect in excess of 10,000 passengers a month. The route will be served by an Airbus A330-200, with planes scheduled to depart on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
On arrival at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, passengers will have the option to connect to 45 domestic destinations including Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.
According to a new report from The Manchester India Partnership and the Confederation of Indian Industry, published to mark the launch of the service, businesses and organisations across the North can expect to benefit.
The Northern Powerhouse and India: Unlocking the Opportunity suggests the new Manchester–Mumbai route could support as many as 2,000 jobs and deliver a £400m boost to the northern economy over the next five years.
Up to £300m of that could come in the form of increased trade and investment. It’s expected the link will also financially benefit the tourism sector (£60m), research and development (£20m), and education and skills (£20m).
The report said: “The improvement in connectivity between the North and India represents a significant opportunity for both parties to collaborate with, learn from and, ultimately, benefit one another.
“The launch of direct flights between Manchester and Mumbai provides a real catalyst for economic growth in both the North of England and India. The size of the prize is significant: the 130,000 passengers using the route annually could generate up to £400m in GDP for the North over the next five years, supporting around 2,000 jobs.
“With the right support from government, industry and academia, the prize is there for the taking.”
Main image: Jet Airways A330 – image c/o Manchester Airports Group.