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London is the first long-haul destination for SpiceJet. Reuters
London is the first long-haul destination for SpiceJet. Reuters

SpiceJet to start flights to London from 4 December

  • The airline will operate two weekly flights from Delhi and one weekly flight from Mumbai to Heathrow

No-frill carrier SpiceJet will begin flying from New Delhi and Mumbai to London’s Heathrow airport from 4 December, the airline’s chairman and MD Ajay Singh said on Monday.

The airline will operate two weekly flights between Delhi and London and one weekly flight between Mumbai and London on an Airbus A330 aircraft, which it recently took on a wet lease for long-haul international operations.

SpiceJet had in August secured slots at Heathrow to operate flights from 1 September, about a fortnight after it was designated as an Indian scheduled carrier to the UK.

London is the first long-haul destination for SpiceJet and the airline will announce more such destinations in future, Singh, the airline’s promoter, said at a virtual press meet.

The flights to London will operate under the India-UK air bubble agreement.

Air bubbles or travel corridors allow designated airlines of two nations to fly passengers either way without any restriction.

India has air bubble arrangements with several countries, including the US, the UK, the UAE, Maldives, France, Germany, Canada, Qatar, Bahrain, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Japan. However, operating under an air bubble agreement with the UK during the covid-19 pandemic means that only specific categories of passengers such as non-resident Indians (NRIs) and long-term UK visa holders will be able to board the flights.

At present, Indian airlines, which include national carrier Air India and Vistara—a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines—operate multiple weekly flights between India and the UK. British airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operate flights between the two countries.

Singh said that travel sentiment is gradually improving amid the covid-19 pandemic, which has adversely affected the aviation sector. “It is tough to say if the worst is behind us. However, I can see confidence returning and people are understanding it’s safe to fly. Once some quarantine restrictions are lifted, I think people will travel to London," he said.

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