WORLD ROUTES: Birmingham and Delhi Become Sister Airports

Following the recent launch of direct flights between Birmingham Airport (UK) and Delhi International Airport (India), the two airports have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise a working relationship and commit to developing links between the two cities even further.

At a ceremony held at the World Routes conference in Las Vegas on October 6, 2013, the MoU was signed by Birmingham Airport’s chief executive officer, Paul Kehoe and Delhi International Airport’s head of airline marketing and route development, Kiran Jain, and witnessed by a delegation of aviation and tourism leaders, including the chairman of Visit Britain, Christopher Rodrigues, who joined the airports in support of the partnership.

The MoU, which sees the two airports becoming ‘Sister Airports’, signifies a formal commitment by both parties to work collaboratively in order to strengthen trade and tourism links between the two cities. Located in the centre of the UK, Birmingham Airport handles more than nine million passengers a year and is the third largest airport outside of London. It has a core catchment of ten million people and some 200,000 Indian people live in the West Midlands region alone; 15 per cent of England’s total.

Speaking at the signing in Las Vegas, Paul Kehoe, said: “This partnership makes perfect sense because of the strong ties already in place between the Midlands and India and to continue the hard work already done to secure the route. Having this formal arrangement will allow us to share information and best practice to enhance links between Birmingham and Delhi and promote tourism and business opportunities at both ends of the route.”

Delhi International Airport sees 36 million passengers and well over half a million ton of cargo pass through it annually and is well placed to become the leading hub of South Asia. “It is only through collaboration between our two airports that we have garnered the Delhi - Birmingham service on the wings of our national carrier, Air India. It is partnerships like the one we are cementing here today that will bring us sustained success.” said Delhi International Airport’s Kiran Jain,

Both airports have expansion programmes underway, including a 400m runway extension at Birmingham to allow aircraft to carry more fuel and fly further, plus a longer term vision to become a multi-runway facility capable of handling 70 million passengers a year. Delhi International Airport has commenced on a master plan review that will further enhance its capacities in preparation for the traffic growth. Air India began four times weekly direct flights between Birmingham Airport and Delhi on August 1, 2013 using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…