Air India prepares to mark anniversary of first India–UK flight

Air India prepares to mark anniversary of first India–UK flight
India’s national airline is calling on members of the public to share their memories of the company’s inaugural India-UK flight ahead of the 70th anniversary of the historic journey.

Air India wants members of the Indian diaspora in Britain to get in touch with any stories or pictures linked to the carrier’s very first flight between Mumbai and London in June 1948.

The Lockheed Super Constellation took off from Mumbai on June 8 and landed in London two days later, following stops in Cairo and Geneva. A total of 42 passengers made the journey.

According to Debashis Golder, Air India’s regional manager for the UK and Europe, plans are in place to commemorate the anniversary.

He said: “We want to reach out to people who would have made some of these early journeys to share their memories and pictures, which we could feature in our inflight magazine and also catalogue to mark those glorious early days of air travel.

“Many of these journeys will mark the arrival of Indians who went on to make their life and fortunes in the UK or friends and family who made visits back and forth during a time when the availability and flight times were not what they are today. It marks an important chapter in the India-UK relationship.”

It’s estimated more than 200,000 British-Indian people travel to India each year to visit friends and relatives, as well as for tourism and business reasons.

Last month Air India increased the frequency of its Birmingham–Amritsar service in a bid to capitalise on the popularity of the route. Growing demand for the direct air link, which launched in February, led the airline to increase the number of weekly flights to three. The service now runs between Birmingham Airport and Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport in Amritsar on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Rival Jet Airways has announced plans to launch a new Manchester­–Mumbai route before the end of 2018. The plan is to have four flights per week linking the UK’s Northern Powerhouse and India’s financial capital.

Main image: Air India Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner departs London Heathrow Airport. © Adrian Pingstone

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