Virgin Atlantic has announced it will fly from Manchester to India for the first time, beginning 26th October 2020. This new service to Delhi marks the airline’s first non-Atlantic route from Manchester, further demonstrating Virgin’s commitment to expanding their existing presence at the airport. Plus, customers from the north of England will have the chance to enjoy a non-stop option to India, offering more convenient schedules and the award-winning Virgin Atlantic service.
Flights will initially operate three times per week with departures from Manchester on a Monday, Thursday and Saturday. VS318 will depart Manchester at 16:40 and land the following morning into Delhi at 06:05. The return VS319 service from Delhi will depart on Tuesday, Friday and Sundays, taking off from Delhi at 08:10, landing back into Manchester at 12:10.
An Airbus A330-200 aircraft will be used to operate the route offering the superb Upper Class cabin which features fully-flat beds and aisle access for all passengers. Both Economy and Economy Delight cabins will be available (Economy Delight features an extra four inches of legroom) as well as the even more spacious Premium Economy cabin (pictured).
Passengers will be able to enjoy the most generous baggage allowance available from Manchester to India, with Economy passengers allowed 46kg checked allowance over two bags.
In launching this route, Virgin Atlantic will go head to head with the Middle Eastern carriers like Emirates, Qatar and Etihad who have, in recent years, generally had the lion’s share of the Manchester to India passenger market. Indian airline, Jet Airways, launched a short-lived Manchester to Mumbai service in 2018, but this ceased when the airline shut down in 2019.
The addition of the Delhi service at Manchester also sees Virgin’s New York JFK and Atlanta to Manchester services re-timed. This is to allow for passengers travelling between the USA and India to connect at Manchester through the airport’s expanded Terminal 2, the work on which is expected to complete in the next 12 months.
Virgin Atlantic already flies daily from London Heathrow to Mumbai and twice daily from Heathrow to Delhi. The thrice-weekly Manchester to Delhi service is expected to prove popular, and will provide convenience to Indian families in the north of England travelling to visit friends and relatives. Leisure travellers will also benefit from the easier access to the state of Uttar Pradesh, the home of the Taj Mahal.
This year will also welcome the opening of a new Virgin Clubhouse in Manchester and the rebranding of regional carrier Flybe to Virgin Connect. These large-scale changes will further cement Manchester’s status and importance as a hub in the Virgin network. Virgin Connect will offer customers 47 daily flights from Manchester across the UK, Ireland and Europe.
A year of growth
Virgin Atlantic’s growth in the north has been greatly welcomed and has seen the airline commit to adding 23,000 extra seats between Manchester and Orlando this summer. Compared to 2019, Virgin now also offer 13% more seats on its Manchester to Barbados route, with all flights now operated by the larger Boeing 747 aircraft.
Chief Commercial Officer of Virgin Atlantic, Juha Jarvinen, commented on the growth at Manchester: “(This) is an extremely exciting year of continued growth for Virgin Atlantic and increasing our presence out of Manchester is a huge focus for us.”
“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’re thrilled to fly to Delhi for the very first time from Manchester, our home in the north.”
The new Delhi service joins others also announced by Virgin Atlantic from London. Non-stop Dreamliner flights from Heathrow to the vibrant cities of Cape Town and Sao Paulo will launch later in 2020 and are now on sale. Latterly, the airline began flights in 2019 from Heathrow to Tel-Aviv and reintroduced Mumbai.
Virgin Atlantic flights from Manchester to Delhi go on sale on March 3rd and are available to book on Netflights.