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India gets new UK, Middle East connections
Shekhar Niyogi, Kolkata, March 20, 2012

VIRGIN Atlantic will relaunch daily services from London (Heathrow) to Mumbai starting October 29, following a suspension of the route in 2009 due to the global financial crisis.


The reinstated London-Mumbai flights will be operated using the Airbus A330-300 aircraft, which will feature the British carrier's new Upper Class Dream Suite product with 33 seats, in addition to 48 premium economy- and 185 economy-class seats. Tickets will be sold from April 4.


Anju Desai, vice president, HMA Travel Mumbai said: “Flights to London are critical for onward connections within Europe and to the US. Virgin is popular with Indian fliers and we should see several new combinations of itineraries opening up.”


Meanwhile, Jet Airways launched on March 17 four-weekly flights from New Delhi to Dammam in Saudi Arabia, using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft with business- and economy-class seating.


The Indian carrier already operates flights to Dammam from Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram, while its other Middle East destinations include Dubai, Sharjah, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jeddah and Riyadh.


Anil Punjabi, chairman (east), Travel Agents Federation of India, said: “The western and southern parts of India have immense demand for the Gulf, so added flights to Saudi Arabia will relieve the stress on seats. Moreover, the steady stream of non-resident Indians travelling that sector will keep up a sustained demand.”

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