Stansted Airport's first direct flight to India takes to the runway
PUBLISHED: 14:23 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:23 01 November 2019
Stansted Airport celebrated its first long-haul flight to India last week, as Air India launched its new regular service to Amritsar.
Bollywood dancers greeted passengers as they boarded the airline's 256-seater Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane, which was also specially painted to commemorate the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism.
Stansted Airport's chief executive, Ken O'Toole, said: "We are delighted to welcome Air India to Stansted for the launch of our first ever scheduled service to India, and the only direct link between any London airport and Amritsar.
"This service is a great addition to our long-haul offer and a clear reflection of the huge demand that exists across north and east London and the East of England for convenient and affordable connections to India.
"We have made clear our ambition is to provide passengers with more choice and opportunities to travel long-haul from Stansted. Delivering this new exciting new service with Air India is another significant step in the right direction in meeting our goal."
The Air India service to Amritsar, running three times a week, joins the twice-daily Emirates service to Dubai that launched at Stansted last year. Flights to Amritsar will operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Air India's executive director, Aruna Goplakrishnan, said: "India has always been an important and popular destination for not only the Indian diaspora in UK but also for UK residents, both for tourism, pilgrimage and business interests.
"Stansted is positioned at the heart of the UK's innovation corridor, adjoining the popular cities of London and Cambridge, which is home to many world-leading universities, research and development organisations, technology, life sciences and technology companies.
"The new route will facilitate major business opportunities in both countries and will further boost business and trade and invite investment building upon the growing business base."
Stansted Airport currently serves more than 27 million passengers a year, with 200 destinations across 40 countries. It is the fourth-busiest airport in the UK, according to figures on the airport's website.