Tata Group-owned Air India has launched its first-ever non-stop flight to London Gatwick, from Amritsar today. It has now become the first and only Indian airline to operate at Gatwick Airport— the second-largest airport in the UK.
In a statement, the airline informed that the services to Gatwick are in line with Air India’s ongoing endeavour of enhancing connectivity between India’s major cities and leading global destinations to provide more choices to its passengers.
Equipped with 18 Business class seats featuring fully-flat beds and 238 Economy class seats, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner will be operating three flights a week on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday from Amritsar.
In addition to the flights from Amritsar, Air India will operate 9 other weekly flights scheduled from Ahmedabad, Goa, and Kochi—making it a total of 12 weekly flights to Gatwick. These operations will reaffirm Air India’s operations, presence, and network in the UK. In total, the airline now operates 49 flights in the UK per week— 43 flights to London (Heathrow and Gatwick) and six flights to Birmingham. Air India also operates 31 weekly flights to Heathrow, London from Delhi and Mumbai.
The Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, General (Retd) V.K. Singh, and BJP National Secretary, Punjab, Tarun Chugh attended the virtual inauguration ceremony of the flight. They flagged it off along with Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Civil Aviation, and Air India CEO & MD Campbell Wilson.
On the occasion, Minister Scindia, said, “It is a historic day for Amritsar and Punjab. This new connection will bring a new impetus to the state and provide key connectivity with the UK, bringing people closer. This will also boost trade and tourism and open up new employment opportunities.”
Jyotiraditya M. Scindia also commended Air India for the fleet acquisition plan and expressed hope that Air India will soon connect all the continents and make India the global hub of aviation.
Addressing the gathering, Campbell Wilson, CEO & MD, said, “As part of our five-year transformation plan, Vihaan.AI, we plan to significantly enhance connectivity between India’s major cities and prime global destinations and be acknowledged as India’s Flying Ambassador to the world. These flights will also fulfil the growing demand for direct air connectivity from various important destinations in India to the UK and from the UK to these popular cities in India.”
The first flight AI 169 from Amritsar to Gatwick departed on time at 1320 hrs and will arrive in Gatwick at a convenient 1755 hrs on the same day. Earlier, AI 170 had taken off from Gatwick at 2140 hrs to arrive in Amritsar at 1015 hrs (All Local Time).