Virgin Atlantic back in Mumbai
Back with the bang, Virgin Atlantic is rolling out its finest products to woo the Mumbai market. From a new aircraft to extra baggage allowance and special incentives, the travel agents have a lot to look forward to.
Re- entering the Mumbai market, Virgin Atlantic starts new daily flights to London from Mumbai. The airline has deployed its newest A330 of this route, offering the best of products and services on the new route.
“We are expecting many things from Mumbai and are receiving a positive feedback from the travel trade. This daily flight will serve the UK and open up easy connections to cities in USA. We decided on an overnight flight with a 3 am departure as this connects well with our departures to the US. The connection times are very short; it is less than 90 minutes for JFK,” says Stephen
King, General Manager, Virgin Atlantic India.
Further, highlighting the importance of this return, King says, “Last time, we had to pull out of Mumbai because of the economic conditions. The Mumbai market has grown by nine per cent annually since then and we feel it has shown enough business potential for us to come back. We believe it’s about connecting London with the US and that will be different this time. We are coming in, because there is more of a market but, we are also creating more of a market by allowing direct connections.” The airline will also extend its Limousine services for upper class passengers till Pune.
Other new products on Virgin Atlantic’s newest A330 include brand new upper class cabins and seats. The airline also has the longest flying bar. It offers an additional baggage allowance. Passengers flying Economy are allowed two bags up to 23 kg each, three bags up to 23 kg each in Premium Economy and upper class allows three bags up to 32 kg each. The new aircraft has been flying to Delhi since July and has received great feedback.
The airline has seen tremendous growth on its services from New Delhi and enjoyed a 20 per cent growth in 2011. “The most important factor for our growth is travel agents. We think our product package, baggage allowance, Indian cabin crew, Indian food, Bollywood movies, are big elements that have helped us to grow,” adds King.
Virgin Atlantic is one of the few airlines that continue to offer a three per cent commission to the travel agents. King says, “The vast majority of business comes from the travel agents.
We work both with owners as well as front office staff. We are keen to reward front line staff and also want to know the agents and their staff. We are always accessible, flexible and agent-friendly and pay three per cent commission.”
Stephen King General Manager Virgin Atlantic India