Online petition for direct Mumbai-Birmingham flight in UK attracts hundreds of signatures
London, May 14: An online petition by a mayoral authority in the UK calling for a direct flight between India's financial capital Mumbai with Britain's second largest city Birmingham has attracted hundreds of signatures within days.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) issued the petition titled "We need a direct flight to Mumbai from Birmingham" on Change.Org on Friday and was edging towards reaching its target of 1,000 signatures on Tuesday.
"Given the significant business (Jaguar Land Rover, JCB, Rolls Royce, Bharat Forge, Pattonair and Bombardier to name a few) links between the Midlands and India, and the strength of the diaspora, there is strong demand for a direct flight between Birmingham and Mumbai," said West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.
"There is a business case but there is also a personal case – thousands of families will be able to reconnect more easily with a new route. The Midlands and India have a wonderful relationship, we need to strengthen it with a new route," he said.
The petition is aimed at reflecting the strength of feeling of the people of the region for such a direct connection when a delegation from Birmingham Airport heads out to India later this month. The airport has been lobbying for a direct flight for some time and Andy Street raised the issue of a direct route to connect Mumbai with Birmingham, the UK's second-largest city, with Indian aviation minister Suresh Prabhu during a previous India visit.
Street said: "The Midlands serves a large Indian community of nearly 500,000, with significant populations in Birmingham, Leicester, Northampton, Nottingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.
"I am really pleased there is an Air India flight to Delhi from Birmingham but if people need to go to Mumbai they have to travel to Heathrow".
Air India admits demand for more direct routes from the UK to Indian cities, including Goa and Ahmedabad, but says it remains constrained by airport slots. Jet Airways had made a play to cater to some of the demand with a Manchester-Mumbai flight last year before its financial troubles grounded its fleet.
Eknath M. GaikwadIndian National Congress
Rahuk ShewaleShiv Sena