An Air India’s Boeing 787-8 ‘Dreamliner’ landed at Birmingham Airport in the first service from Amritsar and Delhi.
The new service now operates four times weekly each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving from Amritsar and Delhi into Birmingham at 1800 hours and departing to Delhi and Amritsar from Birmingham at 2130 hours.
The 256 seat B787-8 series aircraft has a split cabin, consisting of 18 business class and 238 economy seats. Birmingham is only the second UK airport to operate dedicated Boeing 787 scheduled services.
Welcoming the inaugural flight, the Airport’s CEO, Paul Kehoe, said, “We are delighted to welcome this new service into Birmingham and to now offer regular scheduled services to Delhi and Amritsar on the fantastic Dreamliner aircraft. Air India has responded to the enormous demand that lies in our catchment and we thank all the support received from the City, and indeed the region, to secure these direct flights".
According to FDI Markets, the West Midlands receives more foreign direct investment from India than any other region outside London.
Globally, the UK is the third largest recipient of Indian investment, behind only the UAE and the USA.
The Chairman of Air India, Rohit Nandan, flew in on the inaugural service and was welcomed by a delegation of Midlands’ VIPs, including Sir Albert Bore, the Leader of Birmingham City Council and Mr Sri VS Ramalingam, the Consul General for India in Birmingham.
Commenting on the special occasion, Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham has a proud reputation as a diverse city, with residents from the wider Indian subcontinent the fastest growing group, according to the 2011 census.
"It makes a great deal of sense for there to be a direct flight between Delhi and Birmingham, rather than just London, and so I am delighted to welcome the commencement of the new service.”
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner which entered into commercial service in October last year.
Boeing states that it is the company's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to use composite materials as the primary material in the construction of its airframe. The 787 has been designed to be 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 it is to replace.