Gatwick welcomes new long-haul routes to support trade and tourism
Twelve new flights will take off from Gatwick.
Air India has launched four landmark routes between the hub airport and Indian destinations such as Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Kochi and Goa.
The non-stop routes opened to much fanfare with flag waving, dancing, and meetings between senior airport and airline officials.
Campbell Wilson, managing director and CEO of Air India said: "We have ambitious yet focused plans to restore Air India to its rightful place as one of the world’s foremost carriers.
"Our substantial investment in customer service, new aircraft and the brand overall will enable us to gain market share on key routes from the UK to India as well as drive more business and leisure travellers to visit India itself.
"We are pleased to be launching services from London Gatwick, enabling our passengers to have even more choice on how they enter India."
The Boeing 878-8 Dreamliner aircraft which will be used on the route feature 18 flat-bed business calss seats, and 238 economy class seats.
In total, Air India operates 49 flights in the UK per week.
The Indian minister for civil aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia, said: "This new connection will bring a new impetus to the state and provide key connectivity with the UK, bringing people closer.
"This will also boost trade and tourism and open up new employment opportunities."
The latest government figures have revealed that businesses across the South East exported £479 million of goods and services to India, more than any region outside of london, and it is hoped this figure will increase with the introduction of the new routes.
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Gatwick's long-haul network serves 47 destinations across the globe, from Cape Town to Las Vegas, and now a series of Indian destinations.
Jonathan Pollard, chief commercial officer at Gatwick Airport said: "These exciting routes open up a wealth of new opportunities for our passengers.
“Some will take advantage of the wonderful cities and beaches India has to offer. Others will benefit from the multiple connections between two of the world’s largest economies, while many of our passengers will use the new routes to visit friends and family."