Virgin Atlantic re-enters the ever growing London-Mumbai route

Virgin Atlantic is set to return to Mumbai for the third time on October 27, 2019. Daily flights are scheduled to depart from London Heathrow at 10:15 in the morning. The returning flight will depart Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at 02:55 AM in the morning.

Virgin made its very first inaugural flight to Mumbai in 2005. It cited the global economic downturn in 2009 and cut several destinations including Mumbai. When Kingfisher Airlines abandoned the UK market and eventually collapsed in 2012, Virgin took the opportunity to fly again to Mumbai until 2015, when it simplified its network most likely due to burgeoning operating costs.

Virgin is re-entering the London-Mumbai market in 2019 for a number of reasons. The primary being the collapse of Jet Airways, which has now left Star Alliance member Air India, and British Airways of One World to dominate this route.

As of writing, Air India is struggling to make a profit. It has recently survived a fuel crisis. It refuses to cut costs even when overstaffed, and heavy in debt. Bhārat Sarkār has threatened sale to private hands if Air India refuses to go on a diet.

Therefore, Virgin has one formidable competitor in its archrival: British Airways.

Virgin is 49% owned by Delta Airlines, and soon the AirFranceKLM group is set to have a 31% stake in the airline. The Mumbai-London Route is one of the fastest-growing International Routes from Europe. In 2018, more than 1.1 million passengers travelled between London and Mumbai, a 15.5% increase from the previous year.

Using the Virgin Brand, Delta and AirFrance-KLM will be making a revenue from the growing Mumbai-London Route, without the formalities of offering fifth-freedom and seventh-freedom flights.

Delta itself will be flying to Mumbai for the first time on December 22, 2019 non-stop from New York-JFK. This will be Delta’s second attempt after a 10-year absence.

Flight # Departs Arrives
VS 354 London Heathrow at 10:15 am Mumbai at 12:40 am
VS 355 Mumbai at 2:55 am London-Heathrow at 7:35 am

Virgin plans to operate Boeing 787-9 aircraft in a three-class cabin configuration: Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy.

Virgin’s Economy fare has three levels: Economy Light, Economy Classic with a choice of seat assignment, and Economy Delight with premium check-in and priority boarding.

All of Virgin’s 787-9 aircraft will be fully Wi-Fi enabled.

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Mumbai: India’s Financial Capital

Mumbai is the largest city in India. More than 12 million people live and work within its municipal boundaries. It is the financial and entertainment capital of India.

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The Bombay Stock Exchange is the oldest stock exchange in Asia. Mumbai is one of the top 10 centers of global commerce and trade. It is the economic hub of India with many of its important financial institutions and private conglomerates located here such as the Reserve Bank of India, Reliance Industries, Tata Group and Life Insurance Corporation of India.

Mumbai is known worldwide as the home of Bollywood, India's motion picture industry. It produces around 200 films every year at studios in Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagri. India's premier entertainment channels such as Zee TV, Sony Entertainment, StarPlus and Sony ESPN are also headquartered in Mumbai.

Mumbai has many attractions and places of interests such as colonial buildings, museums, beaches, zoos, gardens, markets and religious places. Some of the most famous landmarks of Mumbai include the Victoria Terminus, Haji Ali Darga, Maratha Mandir (cinema hall), The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Gateway of India.

Mumbai Airport

Mumbai is served by the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM). Domestic travel outnumbers International travel at Mumbai. It is a hub for Air India, Jet Airways, GoAir, IndiGo and SpiceJet.

The most popular domestic destinations from Mumbai are to New Delhi, Bangalore, Goa and Chennai. Whereas the top international destinations from Mumbai are to Dubai, London, Singapore and Bangkok.

Hotels in Mumbai

Mumbai offers many options for accommodation, however for those new to the city, it is best to stick to established brand name hotel chains. Many are easy to find around the airport as well as in South Mumbai, where most important businesses take place.

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London: UK’s Financial Centre

London is one of the most global cities in the world. It is deeply connected to the world economy and is considered an international capital of culture, music, education, fashion, politics and commerce. This makes London one of the most desired city to visit internationally.

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London was founded over 2000 years ago. It exchanged hands from the Romans to the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings and the Normans. It has been a centre of trade and commerce for more than 1500 years. The London Stock Exchange was founded around 450 years ago. It is the oldest stock exchange in the world and the third largest after New York and NASDAQ.

London has a diverse range of people and cultures. More than 300 languages are spoken here. More than 36% of Londoners are foreign-born. London's restaurants accommodate to every kind of budget and tastes. You can find dishes from almost every part of the world, with some on par or if not, even better than their countries of origin.

As one of the world's leading tourism destinations, London has no shortage of sites to see. One of the most notable attractions is the London Eye - a 135-metre Ferris wheel that gives you a magnificent areal view of the city. London's most famous attractions include The Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and much much more.

Kirat rai at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

London's Airports

When it comes to flying, London is the most served destination in the world. More than 170 million passengers fly through London’s six airports every year.

London is served by six airports which surround the city in all directions. Before you book your flight, you will need to find out where your chosen flight will land or take off from, and your options for getting to and from that airport. Read my post describing London’s six major airports that serve many different airlines and destinations.

Hotels in London

There is no shortage of the kinds of accommodation London has to offer depending on your budget. Your choice of the hotel also depends on whether you need quick access to certain airports or business areas or attractions. Hotel rates in London are notoriously expensive. Hotel prices are often linked to their proximity to a tube or railway station with a fast link to Central London.

Hotel rates in London can also be expensive during the week, as it relies heavily on the business market but prices often drop over the weekend. Many hotel chains offer substantial discounts if you book well in advance, but you have to pay the full amount upfront at the time of booking and there are no refunds if you cancel.

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About Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited is headquartered in Crawley in the country of West Sussex in the South of England. It operates from three bases at Gatwick (LGW), Heathrow (LHR) and Manchester (MAN).

Virgin Atlantic Logo

Virgin was conceived as British Atlantic in 1984 by the late Randolph Fields and the late Alan Hellary. It was financed by the billionaire Sir Richard Branson. With a 50% control over the company, he suggested renaming the airline to agree with his Virgin brand.

In 2017, Sir Richard sold 49% of Virgin Atlantic to Delta Airlines, significantly reducing his stake in the company, and later stepping down at the CEO. By 2020, The AirFranceKLM is will complete the purchase of a further 31% stake of the airline, further reducing the Virgin Group's control to 20%.

This partnership will benefit passengers in redeeming Sky Team RewardsDelta Sky Miles, and Virgin's Flying Club Miles; the use of partner Lounges and seamless booking of flights with partner airlines. With fresh investment, Virgin is poised to streamline its operations and expand to new routes in the near future.

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