The UK and India have signed an agreement to ease the restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries.
The deal sees the scrapping of limits on flights from key Indian cities including Chennai and Kolkata. It also sees the opening up of all UK destinations for Indian carriers to launch codeshare flights, and reciprocally UK carriers can now operate codeshare services to any international airport in India, through domestic codeshare arrangements.
There are currently 88 scheduled services per week in each direction between the two countries, carrying around two and half million passengers per year, and in 2015 there were 422,000 visit from India to the UK, contributing £433 million to the economy.
Commenting on the deal Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said:
“India is one of our closest allies and key trading partners and this new agreement will only serve to strengthen this crucial relationship.
“We are unlocking new trade and tourism opportunities which will boost our economies, create new jobs and open up new business links.
“This is great news for both the UK and India and is yet another sign that we are open for business and ready to build new, and strengthen our existing, trade links.”
Air India recently re-located its Heathrow services at Terminal 2, joining its fellow Star Alliance member carriers at the Queen’s Terminal.
The airline currently operates flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad to London Heathrow, as well as services from Amritsar and Delhi to Birmingham.
Rival Indian carrier Jet Airways operates flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Heathrow, while British Airways offers flights from London to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, and Virgin Atlantic flies to Delhi.