Kuwaiti budget carrier Jazeera Airways is to examine Manchester as a second UK route if performance on its new London Gatwick service meets targets.
The airline is set to operate four times weekly to Gatwick from 27 October, using Airbus A320neo jets, and raise the frequency to daily starting in December.
Jazeera chief executive Rohit Ramachandran, speaking to FlightGlobal in London ahead of the route launch, said the airline had picked Gatwick because it sought a "sweet spot" balancing a major London airport with cost considerations.
While the airline considered London Stansted and Luton, he says, there was "positive engagement" from Gatwick and the carrier was granted "some priority" on slots because it was offering a hitherto-unconnected route.
Ramachandran says Jazeera hopes to benefit from offering a "one-stop solution" to reach destinations in India, and believes the carrier's fares will appeal to students as well as those travelling for the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage.
The budget carrier will compete with Kuwait Airways' and British Airways' Boeing 777 services from London Heathrow.
But if the London route performs well, says Ramachandran, the carrier will look at Manchester and potentially other UK cities for expansion.
At some 2,500nm Kuwait-London Gatwick is one of the longest scheduled sectors for the A320neo – although Royal Brunei Airlines is operating A320neos on the 2,940nm Brisbane route and Bahrain's Gulf Air has previously used A320s to London Heathrow, a route of 2,750nm.