Virgin Atlantic Cargo is to inaugurate a three-times-a-week service from Manchester to Delhi beginning this autumn.
Starting on 26 October, the airline will operate three A330-200 flights every Monday, Thursday and Saturday in what it describes as “part of its growing commitment to the Indian market”.
Currently, an estimated £20 billion worth of cargo travels between the UK and India each year. This equates to 100 million kilos of goods moving by air between the two countries and includes high volumes of vegetables, fresh fruit, spices and apparel.
The new route will also provide “quick and seamless connections” for customers in the US to access India’s buoyant market.
Virgin Atlantic currently operates from New York JFK, Atlanta and Orlando to Manchester and will relaunch seasonal services from Las Vegas on 29 March and from Los Angeles on 24 May.
Last October, Virgin Atlantic commenced daily Heathrow-Mumbai services; on 29 March the airline will introduce double daily flights to Delhi from Heathrow. The expansion comes as the airline celebrates the 20th anniversary of flying to India.
Commenting on the new services, Virgin Atlantic Cargo MD, Dominic Kennedy, said: “Business opportunities between the UK and India have never been greater.
“India is now the world’s fifth-largest economy and the UK is one of its biggest and fastest-growing trading partners for products such as technology and automotive components, pharmaceuticals and fresh produce, as well as other general types of cargo.
“The launch of direct flights to India from Manchester this October will give exporters and importers more choice. In addition, our three times daily services that we will be operating out of Heathrow offers exciting new growth opportunities for us and our customers.”
VS318 will depart Manchester at 4.40pm, landing the next morning in Delhi at 4.05pm. The return service, VS319, will depart on a Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 8.10am, landing back at 12.10pm.