Air India is launching a new direct route to Mumbai from Stansted.
It is the Essex-based airport’s first link with the financial centre in India and comes three months after Air India launched its inaugural service from Stansted to Amritsar – the only direct flight from London airports.
The route will fly three times a week from 21 February for the winter season, using a 256-seat Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
“This new route is further evidence of the growing demand from businesses and passengers across the region for more long-haul connections from their local airport,” said Ken O’Toole, Stansted’s chief executive.
“We know that 200,000 people from our region travel to Mumbai every year from other airports, so this new service will not only provide greater choice but help cut down unnecessary journeys and provide a shot in the arm to the regional and national economies.”
In 2018 Mumbai, home to Bollywood, was rated the 12th richest city in the world.
Headquarters of several major companies are based there, such as Tata Group, Essel Group and Reliance Industries, and the city accounts for more than 6% of India’s economy.
“India offers many opportunities for businesses in the East of England and the ability to fly direct from Stansted will be of real benefit to Essex Chambers’ members as we look to the UK growing its overseas markets,” said Denise Rossiter, chief executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce.
Peter Waters, executive director of Visit East of England, said the new route would benefit the “untapped visiting friends and relatives market”, while Sunil Shah, chief executive of Cambridge investment firm o2h ventures, said the route will save the company “several hours’ commuting time”.
David Rooke, location services director at Invest Essex, added: "This will undoubtedly bring UK and Indian businesses even closer together.
“With India investing more in the UK than the rest of the EU combined and UK India Week going global in 2020, these flights will be a welcome addition to the business community.”