Virgin Atlantic Announces India Return

Delhi and Mumbai are back on from Heathrow as carrier continues its resumption of long-haul routes

Crawley-based Virgin Atlantic is set to return to India after a break from flying to the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated travel restrictions. 

The airline is expected to start services from London/Heathrow to Delhi and Mumbai from September 2 and 17, respectively. This follows the carrier’s resumption of flights from the London hub to Hong Kong, New York/JFK, Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Barbados in recent weeks. 

Virgin Atlantic 787
Virgin Atlantic plans to use the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the two routes - it currently operates a fleet of 17 of the type. Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory

On August 3, the Indian and UK governments agreed to establish an ‘Air Bubble’ which would enable British carriers to operate services between the two countries. As part of this scheme, Virgin Atlantic’s passengers will be permitted to travel onboard direct services to Heathrow and the United States from India. 

Alex McEwan, commercial manager India, Virgin Atlantic commented: “This year marks 20 years of flying between UK and India and we’re delighted to resume our passenger services to this beautiful country. We know many of our customers will be excited to reunite with friends and family and we are looking forward to welcoming them on board, taking to the skies safely in true Virgin Atlantic style.”

Virgin Crew in Masks
The carrier says it has implemented a series of health measures to ensure passenger safety. Virgin Atlantic

The airline plans to operate a thrice-weekly service from Delhi to Heathrow and a four times weekly connection from Mumbai. 

McEwan added: “The health and wellbeing of our customers and crew remains our number one priority and our teams have been working tirelessly to implement new measures and evolve our experience so customers can feel confident to book and fly with us. This includes social distancing at the airport and onboard wherever possible, meticulous cleaning of the aircraft and individual Health Packs for all customers, containing medical-grade face masks, hand sanitizer and surface wipes.”

Virgin Atlantic Heathrow
In May, the airline announced it would cut more than 3,000 jobs and close its Gatwick base. It is now focusing on operations at Heathrow and Manchester. Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory

Both destinations are expected to provide connections to New York/JFK and will be operated using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.