Following its mammoth tie-up with three foreign airlines
India’s Jet Airways has announced a new link with Britain’s Virgin Atlantic.
Jet Airways original link was with Air France, KLM and US carrier Delta and involved improved flight connections via both Amsterdam and Paris CDG.
The idea is that all these carriers offer an alternative to routings via the Gulf which are popular in the voluminous India-US market.
Its new link means that Jet Airways’ US-bound passengers can connect onto Virgin Atlantic at London Heathrow.
It involves flying out of Delhi or Mumbai to London Heathrow where onward Virgin Atlantic flights continue to nine US destinations: Atlanta, Boston, New York (Newark), Washington Dulles, Miami, New York (JFK), Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
Passengers bound for hinterland destinations can connect with Delta at its Atlanta and New York gateways.
However not everything in the garden is lovely.
Jet Airways uses Terminal 4 at Heathrow which is on the other side of the airfield from Terminal 3 used by Virgin Atlantic. Of course there are transfers between the two terminals but this adds to the connection time.
By comparison Jet Airways uses T2 at Paris CDG (the Air France/Skyteam terminal) and there’s no problem at Amsterdam as Schiphol comprises a single terminal.
Virgin Atlantic passengers departing London for Delhi (note: Virgin Atlantic’s Mumbai service is operated by Jet Airways under a code-share agreement) have access to selected code-shared domestic destinations served by Jet Airways.
Readers may think it odd that Jet Airways (24 per cent owned by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad) is offering US routings via Europe rather than via the Gulf.
But as we explained last year (News, October 10) Jet Airways is seeking independence from Etihad.
Distinguished aviation veteran Naresh Goyal has returned to the airline he founded. Mr Goyal has now taken up the position of Chairman at Jet Airways.