Air India on Friday launched the first of its 11 special flights between Mumbai and London Heathrow. These flights will operate in February and March.
The tri-weekly London-Heathrow flight will be followed up with another between Mumbai and London Stansted from February 20 taking the total frequency of flights between Mumbai and London to 13 per week, outgoing Air India chairman-managing-director Ashwani Lohani said adding that the first flight to Heathrow at 11.12 a.m. on Friday was full.
“On passenger demand, Air India is introducing 11 special flights from Mumbai to London Heathrow. This service will operate on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. We are in discussion with Heathrow to continue this service on a full-year basis and are hopeful our request will be accepted,” an airline spokesperson said.
Officials said Air India had been allotted ad hoc slots, which will not gain any historic precedence for future seasons. These are slots that other carriers have cancelled for various reasons. In January, Air India began flying its Boeing 777 jets on the Delhi-London sector, replacing the smaller 787 Dreamliner, which is now used on the Washington DC route. The national carrier already operates a 777 on the Mumbai-London route.
Air India has also suspended its operations to Hong Kong in view of the SARS-CoV-2 breakout from February 7 from Delhi to Hong Kong.
Air India has also cancelled some flights to Shanghai. Air India had sent two flights on January 31 and February 1 to evacuate more than 600 Indian nationals from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak in China.