The North’s first ever direct flight service to India’s economic capital is expected to deliver a major economic boost to the Northern economy.
The four-times-a-week Jet Airways service will put business and leisure passengers across Manchester Airport’s catchment area in easy reach of the world’s fastest-growing economy.
It will deliver a boost to the more than 500,000 people of Indian origin living across the North, with the service set to go live ahead of the annual Diwali festival.
International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said: “From Manchester to Mumbai, Jet Airways’ only direct route between the North of England and India will strengthen connections between two major global cities and the wider Northern Powerhouse. More than a hundred Indian companies are based in the North West alone and this route will further trade relations worth £18bn between the world’s largest and oldest democracies.
“As an international economic department, DIT will always support businesses in accessing global opportunities.”
Jet will initially fly from Manchester to Mumbai on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and will operate an A330-200, with 254 seats, on the route.
India is the world’s seventh largest economy, growing at around 7.2% year-on-year. It is now the world’s third largest economy in terms of purchasing power.
There are already more than 100 Indian companies with bases across the North and India is one of the UK Government’s top target markets for foreign direct investment.
News of a direct service is an early success for the Manchester-India Partnership (MIP), which was launched in both the UK and India earlier this year. It aims to further economic and cultural collaboration between the two locations and its launch was backed by Trade Minister Baroness Fairhead, Manchester’s inward investment agency MIDAS and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
It is chaired by Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan, who said: “Securing a direct service to one of India’s major cities is the product of a lot of hard work over a long period of time to forge closer ties between Manchester and this globally significant economy.
“We have worked, along with a range of partners, to create a compelling case for why our city – and the wider North – is a great place to visit, invest in and do business with.
“I am delighted Jet Airways have recognised this by launching what I’m sure will be a hugely popular service, mot least for the 500,000 people of Indian origin living across the North.
“Direct connectivity to the world’s most important markets is key to creating a prosperous and internationally competitive Northern economy, and a balanced and outward facing UK.
“This route will deliver a major boost to businesses looking to export to the world’s fastest-growing economy, as well as helping to attract Indian visitors and investors to the North.
“We look forward to working with Jet Airways on launching the Mumbai service in the months ahead.”
High Commissioner of India to the UK, Mr Y. K. Sinha, said: “I am delighted that Manchester will be directly connected to Mumbai in November when Jet Airways commences operations on this sector.
“Both the cities are vibrant commercial hubs and a direct flight will not only promote tourism but also enhance our multifaceted engagement. With India emerging as the fastest growing large economy in the world and Manchester becoming an increasingly important tech and innovation centre, this new service will drive growth in the Northern Powerhouse by directly linking it with India’s commercial capital, further strengthening the Manchester India Partnership.”
Lord Jim O’Neill of Gatley, who coined the BRICs phrase to the refer to the high growth economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, said: “Adding Manchester to Mumbai as a direct route, in addition to China a couple of years ago, shows once more, the pioneering leadership of Manchester Airport, opening itself and the whole Northern Powerhouse to the only two countries in the world with more than a billion people each, and with India, an economy that can probably see its GDP growth rates surpassing even those of China over much of the next 15 years.”
Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said: "CII has supported and facilitated the case for direct air route between India and Manchester. Therefore, this news is an important and very welcome step in increasing the business footprint of Indian industry in Manchester and surrounding regions in the North. Increased connectivity will strengthen the scope for greater economic collaboration. It will encourage Indian companies to explore the Northern Powerhouse for the establishment and expansion of their footprint in the region."
Guests arriving at Jet Airways’ hub in Mumbai will be able to conveniently connect onwards to 44 domestic destinations in the airline’s pan India network. They can also connect onwards to other destinations in the SAARC and ASEAN region including Colombo, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The new flight will enhance Jet Airways’ cargo capacity by 15 tons from India to UK and most importantly, open a 2nd important destination in the UK to shippers and exporters and manufacturers from India. With this, Jet Airways’ daily cargo capacity between Mumbai and Delhi to the UK will be 115 tons in each direction.
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