Virgin Atlantic Airways’ inaugural flight landed at Mumbai International Airport this morning with Sir Richard Branson, dressed in dhoti and kurta, a traditional Indian outfit, and media and VIPs onboard. The flight marks the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s second Indian route, the airline already operates daily services to Delhi.Welcomed on the tarmac at Mumbai International Airport by traditional Lavni dancers from Maharashtra and Nasik Dhol Musicians, Sir Richard said:
“Virgin Atlantic has long wanted to expand its services to India and so we are all delighted that this has now been made possible and to have finally landed in Mumbai! Mumbai is a vibrant and bustling city. It is India’s commercial capital, the home of the biggest film industry in the world and the most popular route between India and the UK.
“These new services were desperately needed as the route has previously been significantly under served with a large proportion of passengers being forced to travel through other Indian cities or often through third countries adding time and inconvenience to journeys.
“The route will benefit from the increased competition Virgin Atlantic will provide, which will ultimately lead to better value for money and quality of service for passengers travelling on the route. A few prominent Bollywood stars and celebrities already enjoy our product so much they fly with us out of Delhi.”
Talking on the future plans of Virgin Atlantic in India, Sir Richard said:
“I would like to thank the Indian and British governments for the success of the last bilateral talks, particularly the Indian Minister of Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel. However, I would also like to urge them to reach agreement on further frequencies in the next talks which are planned for later this month. These talks are vital as the business and leisure demand to fly between India and the UK continues to exceed the capacity even at the recently increased level.
“Virgin Atlantic hopes that these talks produce sufficient new frequencies so we can fulfil our ambition of flying triple daily services to India. Daily services to Mumbai and seven more to other cities like Bangalore.”