Virgin plans daily flights to New Delhi, Mumbai

Monday, 20 September 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: The two countries wanted to add to the current bilateral air services agreement, which resulted in a pact for seven additional services between India and Britain from this winter, aviation ministry sources said Monday.

"The agreement also calls for seven more flights from the winter of 2005," a source told IANS. Virgin Atlantic currently operates three weekly flights between London and New Delhi.

Meanwhile, Virgin group founder Sir Richard Branson said in a statement that he hoped his airline would be awarded a majority of the new agreed services since its rival British Airways operated 19 flights to and from India every week.

"We have always dreamt of operating more frequent services to Delhi and to launch new services to Mumbai, and this agreement will enable us to turn this into a reality by flying."

In due course, he said, the carrier proposed a daily service to both Delhi and Mumbai, followed by services to other cities in India.

"The agreement is great news for consumers. More frequencies will mean more competitive fares on the Heathrow-Delhi route and increased competition and service on the Mumbai route," Branson said.

"Half of the people flying from London to Delhi and Mumbai each year are forced to do so via third countries. This can extend their journey time by up to five hours."

Virgin Atlantic also has a code-share agreement with Air-India, which will come to a natural end as Air-India will use the new agreement to increase its own frequencies, Virgin said.

Source: IANS
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