MIAMI – Today, Air India (AI) has restarted its service between London Heathrow (LHR) and India’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) for the first time in 11 years.
The first flight took off from LHR at 12:00 PM to land tomorrow at CCU at 02:20 AM, all local times. Until 2009, AI and British Airways (BA) operated the route. Then, both companies canceled the service due to its commercial unfeasibility.
Now, AI will restart the LHR-CCU double frequency from today to October 24. So far, these two weekly flights are just part of India’s Vande Bharat repatriation Mission (VBM).
With the good news, the carrier has expanded its five flights between the UK and India. While these operations are being operated under the sixth phase of VBM, AI now serves ten routes between the nations.
As the airline expects an increase in demand for next month, the LHR-CCU route could also be more than a special operation. Due to the pandemic, AI closed its Milan, Madrid, Vienna, Copenhagen, and Stockholm bases. Therefore, it reduced its international market in the short- and medium-term.
This smaller network could allow the airline to consider more permanent routes between the UK and India. But the strong load factors and high revenues of the twice-weekly LHR-CCU route will be also a vital consideration. As always, passengers will have the last word.
Featured photo: Air India Airbus A330-200. Photo: Charles Cunliffe.