UK mayor seeks direct Birmingham-Mumbai flight

Citing a business case as well as personal, the mayor of West Midlands – one of the largest regions in England – is campaigning for a direct air link between Birmingham and Mumbai, with much support from the people in the area.

Birmingham has a direct link to Delhi, but mayor Andy Street wants another such link, so that visitors, businesspeople and family members do not need to travel to Heathrow, 165 km away, to catch the flight to Mumbai.

Street, who is mayor of the region comprising 18 local authorities, met civil aviation authorities during a recent visit to India to make the case for the Mumbai flight. he has now started an online petition, supported by nearly 1,000 people.

Street said: “The Midlands serves a large Indian community of nearly 500,000, with significant populations in Birmingham, Leicester, Northampton, Nottingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton. I am really pleased there is an Air India flight to Delhi from Birmingham but if people need to go to Mumbai they have to travel to Heathrow”.

“Given the significant business (Jaguar Land Rover, JCB, Rolls Royce, Bharat Forge, Pattonair and Bombardier to name a few) links between the Midlands and India, and the strength of the diaspora, there is strong demand for a direct flight between Birmingham and Mumbai”.

The Birmingham Airport has also been seeking the creation of the new direct route to Mumbai. A delegation from the airport is due to travel to India later this month.

“There is a business case but there is also a personal case – thousands of families will be able to reconnect more easily with a new route. The Midlands and India have a wonderful relationship, we need to strengthen it with a new route”, Street said.

As Indian investment increases in London and elsewhere in the UK, regional leaders have been seeking better connectivity with various cities in India. Local leaders have also joined trade delegations to India, offering incentives to potential Indian investors and companies keen to expand.

First Published:
May 17, 2019 00:05 IST

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