MIAMI – Boosting the air bubble agreement between India and the UK, Air India (AI) plans to launch direct flights from Chennai International Airport (MAA) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) next year.

The information comes from a carrier’s spokesperson. The operations would be effective in January 2021, but the source did not specify what day. The airline already operates eight routes to LHR. These include Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Goa, Kolkata and Amritsar cities.

Air India 777-300ER. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

Benefits of the Flying Agreement

Similar to other Indian carriers, AI has been increasing its network for a COVID-19 recovery. Since March, India has banned non-essential air operations. On that same month, the airline also suspended its domestic and long-haul operations. While the first flights have been partially resumed, the second ones remain idle until their reactivation.

However, the country launched the Vande Bharat Mission in May. Therefore, some international frequencies are now repatriation operations. Apart from this, AI, Vistara (UK), IndiGo (6E), SpiceJet (SG) have restarted some operations and launched new routes at a fast pace.

Despite the pandemic, Indian carriers are experiencing a major international exposure with their operations in the UK. By 2021 and during the ongoing pandemic, the government expects to expand the strategy to other important European destinations. While India remains closed for international air operations, Indian airlines can keep flying and might agree on strong partnerships for years to come.

Featured photo: Air India Boeing 777-337ER aircraft. Photo: Air India.

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