Birmingham’s loss will be Heathrow’s gain this winter when Air India re-routes its Amritsar-Toronto service via London.
Right now the Indian national airline flies between Amritsar and Toronto three times a week via Birmingham.
The new routing via London means that Air India will be competing with incumbents British Airways and Air Canada between Heathrow and Toronto. Its new flights will also compensate for the absence of budget carrier Zoom in the London market.
The service is set to begin by the end of October. And because Air India has no identity on the route it will price keenly.
Not all the carrier’s fares have been loaded into the various booking systems but when Business Traveller checked economy class rates with Travelocity for travel in early November, we were quoted a return price of £346 return for travel out on a Tuesday and back on a Friday of the same week. By contrast, the equivalent return fares with BA and Air Canada were £1,375 and £1,518 respectively.
Air India recently abandoned its long-standing Heathrow-JFK service. It’s believed to have decided to enter the Heathrow-Toronto route because there is less competition making the potential earnings greater.
Schedules call for flights from Heathrow to operate every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Flight AI187 will depart every Tuesday and Friday at 1250 to arrive in Toronto at 1535. On Sunday this flight will depart at 1530 to arrive at 1815.
Return flight AI188 will depart Toronto at 2050 every Tuesday at 2050 to reach Heathrow at 0835 the next morning. But on Friday and Sunday this flight will leave at 2230 to arrive at 1015.
Report by Alex McWhirter