Virgin Atlantic is launching two new routes from Manchester to Delhi and Mumbai as it anticipates a rise in visiting-friends-and-relatives traffic between the UK and India.

The Mumbai service will be operated thrice weekly from December, and the Delhi flights twice a week from January, using Boeing 787-9s.

Manchester airport

Source: Manchester airport

Virgin Atlantic says that in addition to “benefiting half a million Indian diaspora living across the north” of England, the services are aimed at “capturing demand for business and leisure travel to the region as global economies gradually recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Cirium data shows that the only connection between Manchester and India pre-pandemic was a twice-weekly service to Goa operated by leisure carrier TUI.

“We’re delighted to launch new flying from our home in the north in Manchester,” states Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen. “India boasts the largest foreign-born population in the UK and we’re anticipating that post-Covid-19, the demand to travel home to visit loved ones will increase.

“Following the relaunch of services from Heathrow to Mumbai and Delhi in September 2020, these new services from Manchester represent our continued investment in India. Both Mumbai and Delhi are popular year-round destinations, and we look forward to welcoming travellers from the North and Midlands onboard as demand for leisure and business travel gradually increases to the region.”

The carrier has previous detailed plans to launch flights to Islamabad in Pakistan from Manchester this December