International carriers are launching new services to Chennai and Delhi to fill up the vacuum caused by the closure of Jet Airways.
On Tuesday, Air France announced Paris-Chennai service from June 14 while Virgin Atlantic Airways will begin Manchester-Delhi flights from October 26. Both Air France and Virgin Atlantic are part of Delta-led joint venture which controls around 23 per cent of passenger and cargo capacity between Europe and the US.
Jet Airways operated on Mumbai - Manchester and Chennai - Paris routes before it shut operations last April. While Paris is connected with three cities in India at present, Manchester- India service is being re-established with the Virgin Atlantic flight.
Over 300,000 passengers flew between India and Manchester in twelve months ending September 2019 accounting for nearly 10 per cent of the traffic between the two countries. It is second largest destination for Indians after London Heathrow.
"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. Virgin Atlantic flights from Delhi to Manchester will have also have connections to New York and Orlando," the airline said in a statement. The UK airline launched London-Mumbai service last October and is adding a second Delhi flight in the summer schedule.
Jean – Noel Rault, General Manager, Air France – KLM, Indian Sub-Continent said " Chennai will be our fourth gateway in India and second in South India. This start emphaises the group's commitment to further strengthen its presence in India. The thrice weekly connection will open more travel opportunities for the Indian customers."
Air France-KLM will operate 38 weekly flights from India to its two hubs at Paris and Amsterdam. In the winter season the frequencies will increase to over 40 weekly flights, he said.