Air India’s first direct daily flight between London and Ahmedabad took off from Heathrow Airport today, meeting a long-standing demand of the Gujarati community in Britain.
There was a visibly festive mood among the passengers, who were offered Indian sweets on board the Air India’s inaugural AI 130 Dreamliner aircraft.
“The flight today is full, including business class, and I hope that continues. It is a great moment for the British Gujarati community,” said Tara Naidu, Air India’s regional manager for UK and Ireland.
The launch follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of the new daily service during his visit to the UK last month to meet a long-standing demand of the Gujarati community in Britain.
“As a national carrier, Air India has always endeavoured to meet service requirements to enhance passenger satisfaction and once again Air India has shown its solidarity with its dedicated passenger base,” Air India said in a statement.
Flight AI 130 will depart Heathrow Airport daily at 1330 GMT and after a short stopover of 90 mins in Mumbai, the same aircraft will fly to Ahmedabad and arrive at its final destination at 0645 local India time (IST).
On the first landing in Ahmedabad tomorrow morning, the passengers are expected to be met by a group of Gujarat ministers and other representatives of chief minister Anandiben Patel’s government.
From January 2016, Air India hopes to extend this direct service into a non-stop one without a halt in Mumbai.