Securing a direct flight between Manchester and one of India’s major cities such as Mumbai or Delhi would further strengthen developing economic ties between the two destinations according to Tim Newns, chief executive of MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency.
Speaking at the India – UK Economic Relations Conference as part of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) UK Conference in London, the investment boss said that as relationships between the UK and India develop, Indian businesses are increasingly seeing the benefits of choosing Manchester as a base of operations.
The CII UK conference brought senior business leaders from India to the UK for a three day agenda including meetings with UK government, business and university representatives.
Mr. Newns was joined by a delegation of Manchester business leaders, attending the event to promote the benefits of Manchester as a leading European business location, and communicate the long-term objectives of the Manchester-India agenda.
The Manchester delegation included representatives from BDP, Clyde & Co LLP, Deliotte, EV Group, Manchester Airports Group, Manchester Metropolitan University, PWC, Slater Heelis, University of Salford, and Vernacare.
In addition to the Economic Relations Conference, Manchester supported several events across the three day programme, including a concluding roundtable yesterday evening at the House of Commons, featuring the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).
Speaking of the event, Tim Newns said: “India is a high priority market for Manchester in terms of both inward investment and outbound export, in addition to education and tourism. After a number of years working in market to promote the mutual benefits of increasing India-Manchester ties, it’s encouraging to see that these relationships are gathering momentum.
“Now, with Manchester having been chosen by major Indian companies like HCL and Hero Cycles, Indian business leaders are increasingly turning their attention to Manchester. As MIDAS continues to develop relationships with partners across Manchester and India to ensure this pace of development continues, it might not be long before there is positive news about direct flights between Manchester and a major Indian city.”
Julian Carr, Aviation Director for Manchester Airport, said: “Securing direct flights to major Indian cities remains a key priority for the airport and we continue to have commercial discussions with airlines.
“The existing volume of indirect passenger journeys to India from within our catchment area confirms the viability of direct flights. The introduction of such services would provide vital connectivity for the business community and the large Indian population in the North of England.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council and Deputy Mayor for Economic Growth and Business at the GMCA said: “Greater Manchester is a global location that competes on the international stage for talent, investment, trade and ideas. As the region maintains its steady ongoing development, it’s vital that we remain globally focussed and continue to build relationships with major international business hubs.
“Establishing new routes are of huge importance to maintaining and growing these international connections, and so it’s great to see that Manchester’s longstanding business ties with India appear to be reaching this stage. India is a key market in Greater Manchester’s Internationalisation Strategy, a three-year framework for action worth over £2.2bn to the region’s economy.”