With the Delhi-Manchester service, Virgin Atlantic would be offering over six lakh seats a year between India and the UK. (Photo: iStock)

VIRGIN ATLANTIC has announced that it will launch Delhi-Manchester flights in October this year.

This will be the airline’s first service connecting Asia and Manchester.

“The year 2020 marks our 20th anniversary of flying to India and as the destination continues to grow in popularity for both business and leisure travel, we are thrilled to announce for very first time a new service flying three times a week from Delhi to Manchester, our home in the north,” said Virgin Atlantic Chief Commercial Officer Juha Jarvinen.

Virgin Atlantic currently operates daily flights connecting London’s Heathrow Airport with New Delhi and Mumbai.

With the Delhi-Manchester service, the airline would be offering a total of over six lakh seats a year between India and the UK.

Manchester is second largest destination for Indians after London Heathrow.

Over 300,000 people flew between Indian cities and Manchester in 12 months ending September 2019, accounting for about 10 per cent of the traffic between the two countries, reported the Business Standard.

The Virgin Atlantic statement said: “Manchester is the UK’s third largest airport and is an ideal gateway to the rest of the UK and Virgin Atlantic will offer seamless connectivity to destinations such as Edinburgh and Belfast with Flybe, soon to be rebranded Virgin Connect,” said the airline.

“Virgin Atlantic flights from Delhi to Manchester will have also have connections to New York and Orlando.”

Bookings for the new service, which will use A330-200 aircraft, would open on March 3.
Manchester, which has a sizeable population of Indians, was earlier being served by the now-defunct Jet Airways.

Incidentally, the Chennai-Paris route slot left vacant by Jet Airways has been picked by Virgin’s JV partner Air France, with flight commencing on June 14.