A Jet Airways India Ltd. aircraft passes over traffic as it prepares to land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Jet Airways Taps Indian Diaspora With Mumbai-Manchester Route

(Bloomberg) -- Jet Airways India Ltd. will offer the first ever direct flights from Mumbai to northern England with services to Manchester starting in November.

The carrier will initially connect the cities four times a week using 254-seat Airbus SE A330-200s, with a daily service planned with the start of next year’s summer schedule in March, it said Friday. Jet currently serves London Heathrow three times daily from Mumbai and once a day from Delhi.

The Manchester operation will aim to tap a market of 500,000 people of Indian origin living in the north of Britain, as well as seeking to attract tourists and investors from the sub-continent to the U.K., according to the release. If the route proves successful a service to Delhi could be introduced and operations to cities including Amritsar are a possibility, Jet Chairman Naresh Goyal said.

The carrier also plans to add a second Delhi frequency from Heathrow, which with Air India Ltd.’s three services would use up the eight daily slots at Europe’s busiest airport available to the country’s airlines under an existing bilateral treaty. Flights from Manchester and London Gatwick, which Jet may also consider, aren’t affected by those curbs.

Jet is otherwise happy with its existing European network, which also features flights to Paris and Amsterdam, the two hubs of its joint-venture partner Air France-KLM Group, Goyal said in an interview.

News of the Manchester route comes after Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise said Monday it would start flights there from Addis Ababa in December, giving it a second U.K. destination 45 years after the launch of services to London.

Manchester Airport Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cowan told Bloomberg that while many network blanks have now been filled in, there’s scope for further routes to the U.S., the first services to South America and more flights to Southeast Asia, especially Thailand.

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