Air India has committed to increase its Birmingham-Delhi-Amritsar operation from four flights per week to daily services from November, when its 18th Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ aircraft is inducted into service.
Announcing the growth plans at a celebratory dinner to mark Air India’s first anniversary of operating from Birmingham Airport, the airline’s Commercial Director, Mr Pankaj Srivastava, who flew over from India for the celebration, said: “Since starting our four times weekly Dreamliner programme from Birmingham Airport last year, we have handled more than eighty thousand passengers on board 210 flights, serving business passengers, tourists and people visiting friends and relatives.
“Air India is committed to develop and grow in this market and once we have taken the delivery of our 18th Dreamliner aircraft in November, we hope to launch the daily operation from Birmingham Airport.
“This will provide an extra 1,500 seats a week and give passengers greater choice, flexibility and opportunity to travel from the convenience of Birmingham Airport to Amritsar and Delhi, and onwards on Air India’s extensive global network.”
Air India’s current schedule operates from Birmingham each Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday on its B787 Dreamliner aircraft, which has a 256 split seat cabin consisting of 18 business class and 238 economy seats.
Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely thankful to Air India for recognising the demand from travellers needing the flexibility of daily services from Birmingham.
“The West Midlands receives more foreign direct investment from India than any other region outside of London and Birmingham’s VFR market grew by 71% in 2013, now attracting more visitors from India than any English city other than London.
“It’s therefore not surprising that the route has been such a success in its first year and I am certain that a daily service would make the Birmingham route even more appealing to Midlands’ travellers.”
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner which entered into commercial service in October 2012. Boeing states that it is the company’s most fuel-efficient airliner and the world’s first major airliner to use composite materials as the primary material in the construction of its airframe. The 787 has been designed to be 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 it is to replace.