Indian carrier Jet Airways has unveiled plans to launch a new service linking Manchester and Mumbai.
The new route connecting Britain’s Northern Powerhouse and India’s financial capital is expected to be up and running by November, with four weekly flights linking the two cities.
Andrew Cowan, chairman of the Manchester-India Partnership (MIP) and chief executive of Manchester Airport, said he was delighted by the announcement.
MIP launched at the start of February with the aim of bolstering Manchester’s links with India and attracting new investment to the city.
From the outset, leaders of the trade initiative said a key objective was to secure a direct air link in order to stimulate inward investment, exports and research collaborations.
Mr Cowan said: “Securing a direct service to one of India’s major cities is the product of a lot of hard work over a long period of time to forge closer ties between Manchester and this globally significant economy.
“We have worked, along with a range of partners, to create a compelling case for why our city – and the wider North – is a great place to visit, invest in and do business with. I am delighted Jet Airways have recognised this by launching what I’m sure will be a hugely popular service, not least for the 500,000 people of Indian origin living across the North.
“Direct connectivity to the world’s most important markets is key to creating a prosperous and internationally competitive Northern economy, and a balanced and outward facing UK. This route will deliver a major boost to businesses looking to export to the world’s fastest-growing economy, as well as helping to attract Indian visitors and investors to the North.”
Jet Airways plans to run services on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday using Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 254 seats.
Flights will depart Mumbai at 02:30 (local time) and arrive in Manchester at 07:55 (local time). The return leg will depart Manchester at 09:35 and arrive back in Mumbai at 00:40.
The airline already runs non-stop services between London Heathrow and Mumbai three times a day, as well as a daily service between Heathrow and Delhi.
Vinay Dube, Jet Airways chief executive said: “We are extremely pleased to begin a new chapter in our decade-long relationship with the United Kingdom.
“The new service will bring Manchester into our global network, reinforcing our global footprint, as well as expanding the choice of connectivity to and from the United Kingdom for our guests with the four days a week, non-stop service.”