British Airways is getting strong demand from India, its second-largest market after the US, said Moran Birger, the airline's head of sales for South Asia, Middle East and Africa.
"India is an incredibly important market for us. Last month, we launched a third daily service between London Heathrow and Mumbai. The flight is operated with Airbus A350 aircraft, which has a new business class product. We are seeing demand from the leisure segment. Business travel demand has recovered too," Birger said in Mumbai.
British Airways weekly operates 56 flights between London and India. Other than Mumbai, it flies to Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, and Hyderabad.
British Airways is adding capacity as it sees increased competition in the India-UK market. Air India has announced seventeen additional weekly flights to London: five to Heathrow and twelve to Gatwick from Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa, and Kochi.
Major West Asian airlines, including Emirates and Etihad, are ramping up capacity in the UK market by introducing super jumbo Airbus A380 flights on certain routes.
British Airways has a code share pact with Vistara, giving it passenger feed from thirteen Indian cities.
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A partnership with Qatar Airways has helped British Airways to widen its reach without adding its own flights. The UK-based airline flies to five cities in India and Qatar Airways flies to thirteen. As a part of the partnership, passengers from Kolkata or Kochi can connect from Doha to Europe on a British Airways-issued ticket. The two airlines have also launched a co-branded credit card along with IndusInd Bank that offers frequent flyer programme members loyalty points and benefits such as meet-and-greet service and concierge.
"We are well positioned as a premium brand. Competition is always healthy," Birger said. The airline, at the moment, has no decision to introduce a new destination or first class service to India.