Preet Kaur Gill, the British shadow secretary of state for international development, has welcomed Air India’s plan to increase flights between Birmingham and India from one a week to six. Reacting to the Indian carrier’s decision to add more weekly flights to the UK, the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston said, “I’m delighted to say that after organising joint letters from 12 MPs across the West Midlands to Air India and meeting with Birmingham Airport’s CEO, flights from Birmingham to India have increased from one a week to six. This is confirmed between October and December.”
On Friday (30), Air India said in a statement that it would be able to offer more than 5,000 additional seats every week to customers with five additional flights a week to Birmingham; nine to London; and six to San Francisco, US. With these additions, Air India’s weekly flights to the UK were set to go up to 48.
In July, Gill joined 11 other MPs from West Midlands with large Punjabi and Sikh diaspora communities to write to the chief executive officer of Birmingham Airport, Nick Barton, seeking a review of regular and direct flight from Birmingham to Amritsar.
While direct flights resumed in August last year after the Covid travel restrictions relaxed, the regularity of flights remained low.
“Flights from Birmingham to Amritsar will increase from one flight a week to three. And a brand-new flight route to Delhi will see three flights travel from Birmingham,” Gill said, adding that it was a fantastic news for the region and apart from giving a major boost to the aviation industry which was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, the move will also benefit large Punjabi and Sikh diaspora communities across the West Midlands.
Tom Screen, aviation director for Birmingham Airport, was also happy with the news.
“We’re doing backward somersaults of joy at the prospect of increasing our India flight frequency to six a week. So many of our customers want this. We’re thrilled it’s happening,” he said.
Campbell Wilson, chief executive of Air India, said, “Adding frequency and improving connectivity from major Indian cities to more international destinations is a significant focus. It is a clear signal of our intent, and an early step towards a much bigger aspiration.”