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Last Updated : Nov 28, 2019 01:29 PM IST | Source:

Thanks to Virgin Atlantic, fares to London drop

The airline has resumed operations in October, after a gap of five years.

The relaunch of Virgin Atlantic's service between Mumbai and London has brought welcome relief for passengers, who were otherwise forced to dig deeper into their pockets since Jet Airways suspended its operations earlier this year.

Since the relaunch, on October 27, fares to London - the busiest long haul destination from India - have dropped by 6 percent. That is a respite because, after Jet Airways suspended its operations in April fares of flights between Mumbai to London spiked by up to 80 percent.

A Paytm Travel spokesperson said fares between Delhi and London had gone up by 12 percent after Jet Airways stopped flying. It mattered because the airline had the biggest share of traffic between London and Indian cities.


For Mumbai alone, the impact was huge. In the winter of 2018, for instance, about 5.5 lakh passengers travelled between London and Mumbai. About 3.2 lakh of them had flown with Jet Airways.

But this winter, the seat availability is down by 35 percent.

Thanks to Virgin Atlantic though, the capacity has got a boost, also helping correct fares.

The Paytm Travel spokesperson also pointed out that thanks to the new additions from Virgin Atlantic, "we have already seen fares drop by 3 per cent to 5 percent for winter season travel to London from Delhi and Mumbai, compared to Q3 2019."

Air India and British Airways are the other major airlines on connecting Indian cities with the British capital with non-stop flights.

"When Jet Airways ceased to operate, a lot of flight routes and capacities were affected resulting in an overall decline in the number of seats on the route from India to London. This further pushed up the flight ticket costs for all the routes where Jet was operational," said Prashant Pitti, Executive Director, EaseMyTrip.

New opportunity

Virgin Atlantic had stopped flying to Mumbai in 2015, after 10 years of service. But it continued to benefit from the growth from India, thanks to a codeshare agreement with Jet Airways.

But with the Naresh Goyal-founded airline unable to restart services even after six months, Virgin Atlantic saw an opportunity.

"With the inauguration of the New Mumbai Dreamliner Services facilitating direct flights on these routes, Virgin Atlantic Airlines has brought relief for the travellers," said Pitti.

Virgin has added about 78,000 seats to the route. Both, Air India and British Airways, have also increased their capacity. But this has not been enough to fill the void left by Jet Airways.

That is why despite the fare correction, after the re-launch of services by Virgin, rates are still high.  "Although the situation is now stabilized the airfares to London are still high due to the increase in ATF and being the peak season," said Pitti.

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First Published on Nov 14, 2019 05:15 pm
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