SpiceJet will launch non-stop flights connecting Delhi and Mumbai with London’s Heathrow airport from December 4, becoming the third Indian airline, and the first low-cost carrier, to fly to the British capital.
These flights will operate under the air bubble agreement with UK, the airline said in a statement on October 5. "The airline will operate thrice-a-week to London including twice from Delhi and once-a-week from Mumbai," the airline said.
The low cost airline's announcement comes less than two months after Vistara launched its maiden flight to London. The two airlines, along with state carrier Air India, continue to operate charter flights to London.
SpiceJet in fact had claimed to be the first Indian low cost carrier to fly to London, when it operated the charter flight in August, to repatriate Indians.
SpiceJet will use an Airbus A330-900 Neo aircraft for these flights. Sources added that the airline was in talks with Portuguese charter operator Hifly to take these aircraft on wet lease. The Indian airline though hasn't shared details.
The A330-900 Neo is a 371-seater, twin-aisle aircraft that has a configuration of 353 economy and 18 business class seats.
"This is a huge milestone for us and I am proud of the fact that SpiceJet will be the first Indian low-cost airline to operate non-stop long-haul flights to the UK. London is one of the busiest long-haul destinations from India and our convenient flight timings should suit the convenience of our passengers perfectly,” said Ajay Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, SpiceJet.
London is among the most popular destinations for travelers from India. It helps that the British Indians form the largest ethno-national group and make up for 6 percent of London's population.
Till April 2019, Jet Airways was among the dominant players in the routes to London. But since it grounding, Air India was the only Indian carrier to fly to the British capital.
SpiceJet has launched the new service with a 'promotional return fare' of Rs 53,555 on both the Delhi-London and Mumbai-London routes. "The one-way starting fare will be Rs 25,555 on Delhi-London and Mumbai-London routes, and Rs 29,555 on London-Delhi and London-Mumbai routes.
In comparison, Vistara, which deployed its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route, had one-way fares from Delhi to London, start from Rs 29,912 for economy class.
Earlier this year, SpiceJet was designated as an India scheduled carrier to fly to the UK and the US. It had secured slots in London's Heathrow Airport from September 1. While this was initially valid till October 23, the airline said that the Airport had later extended the slots for the entire winter schedule.