Indian national carrier Air India has opened reservations for flights between Amritsar and London Stansted. The airline currently operates to London Heathrow from New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru.
The three weekly flights are available for booking starting 31st October. Flights are not open for sale for all days in the first week, with regular thrice a week operations starting 7th November. The airline will deploy its B787 Dreamliner aircraft on this sector. The timings will be as below
AI165 ATQ0310 – 0630STN
AI166 STN0920 – 2230ATQ
The flight will operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays
The airline will rotate the aircraft from its Mumbai base, operating thrice a week B787 Dreamliner service to Amritsar at odd hours, which is likely to put strain on profitability.
AI685 BOM2240 – 0130(+1)ATQ 3,5,7
AI686 ATQ2340 – 0240(+1)BOM 1,4,6
The Mumbai – Amritsar flight will operate on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays while the Amritsar – Mumbai flight will operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The announcement of the flight was done on 26th September by the Minister of Civil Aviation (Independent Charge) Hardeep Singh Puri on twitter.
The thrice a week direct @AirIndiain flight between Amritsar-Toronto will commence operations from 27th September 2019. I am also delighted to announce that a thrice weekly flight will also begin between Amritsar-London from 4th November 2019. pic.twitter.com/HA9qaXW6F8
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) September 26, 2019
London Stansted airport (IATA: STN) is located nearly 70 km north east of central London. The airport has been trying to add long haul service for a while and has seen Emirates add flights in recent past.
While the Indian community primarily resides near West London, closer to London Heathrow, it is one of the most congested airports in the world with hard to get slots.
This year marks the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak – the founder of Sikhism, and is expected to attract pilgrims from all over the world to Amritsar. It will be interesting to see how long the flight sustains, post the pilgrim traffic subsides. Air India has gone out of the way to start flights to Birmingham and now London Stansted – which do not hop at the hub New Delhi.
As the airline prepares for disinvestment, it is getting its grounded fleet back in the air, starting with the B787 Dreamliners and B777s, followed by narrow body aircraft. The airline operates to London Heathrow, Birmingham, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Paris, Stockholm and Vienna currently, this will be the 11th airport for the airline in Europe.London Stansted is not restricted by bilateral rights and neither is Amritsar.