Calls for stronger links to In­dia Mayor urges in­crease in flights from Birm­ing­ham in trade visit to coun­try

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Tom Dare Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

MAYOR Andy Street is hop­ing to see an in­crease in the num­ber of flights be­tween the West Mid­lands and In­dia as a re­sult of a trade visit to the coun­try.

Fol­low­ing the Con­ser­va­tive Party Con­fer­ence the mayor joined Com­mu­ni­ties Sec­re­tary James Bro­ken­shire on a trade visit to In­dia last Thurs­day, as part of the ‘Mid­lands En­gine’.

The trip is in­tended to strengthen the Mid­lands-Ma­ha­rash­tra Tech­nol­ogy Part­ner­ship, a re­gional el­e­ment of the UKIn­dia tech­nol­ogy part­ner­ship an­nounced by the Prime Min­is­ter ear­lier this year.

Speak­ing from In­dia, the mayor said that the del­e­ga­tion was par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in in­creas­ing the num­ber of flights be­tween the two desti­na­tions, while also in­creas­ing trade be­tween the two.

“This has been a fas­ci­nat­ing and pro- duc­tive trip, fo­cus­ing largely on two key ar­eas,” the mayor said. “First, we have met with some of the big­gest and fastest grow­ing au­to­mo­tive tech­nolo­gies com­pa­nies with a view to in­creas­ing trade links be­tween the West Mid­lands and In­dia. Se­condly, we have been work­ing with Birm­ing­ham Air­port to seek to build on vi­tal routes.

“Since 2013, 657,000 pas­sen­gers have flown with Air In­dia be­tween the Mid­lands and mul­ti­ple desti­na­tions, with travel be­tween Birm­ing­ham and Delhi grow­ing by 88 per cent in that take and travel to Am­rit­sar by a stag­ger­ing 314 per cent.

“In essence, we want to in­crease the fre­quency of flights and the launch of new ser­vices to other key cities.”

Mid­lands En­gine ‘Cham­pion’ James Bro­ken­shire said that in­creased co­op­er­a­tion would only ben­e­fit busi­nesses on ei­ther side.

And he added that, with Brexit on the hori­zon, now was the per­fect time to strengthen ties be­tween the two re­gions.

“The Mid­lands and Ma­ha­rash­tra are thriv­ing tech hubs in their own right, and by bring­ing these two great re­gions to­gether we are strength­en­ing our tech­no­log­i­cal and eco­nomic ties to the ben­e­fit of our peo­ple and busi­nesses,” he said.

“Whether it’s man­u­fac­tur­ing the lat­est car model or shar­ing ground-break­ing re­search, there is a lot to be gained and I’m de­ter­mined we make the most of the op­por­tu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly as we pre­pare to leave the Eu­ro­pean Union.”

We want to in­crease the fre­quency of flights and the launch of new ser­vices to other key cities Mayor Andy Street

> West Mid­lands Mayor Andy Street

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