London ball

Air Canada launches London Heathrow-Mumbai flights by Boeing 787

Air Canada introduced London-Heathrow in Mumbai, which begins and ends in Toronto. It marks its return to the pair of airports after last operating it 31 years ago as part of a longer route.

The launch of the one-stop shop via London comes as Air Canada, keen to further develop flights to India, was originally intended to serve Toronto-Mumbai non-stop to target the largest unserved Indian market in Canada. This is not the case, likely due to the consequences of bypassing Ukraine and Russian airspace, which raises the question of whether the one-stop shop is just temporary.


Air Canada launches Heathrow-Mumbai

On October 30, Air Canada took off from Heathrow for Bombay. With 2h 40m ground time in the UK, travel time between Toronto and Mumbai is 18h 25m one way and 20h 40m return. It’s not the fastest option, but it’s pretty competitive. Of course, it has fifth freedom traffic rights between London and Mumbai.

The schedule is as follows, with all local times:

  • Toronto to Heathrow: AC856, 20:30-08:30+1 (time block 7am)
  • Heathrow to Mumbai: AC856, 11:10-01:25+1 (8h 45m)
  • Mumbai to Heathrow: AC855, 04:45-09:20 (10h 5m)
  • Heathrow to Toronto: AC855, 12:00-14:55 (7h 55m)

The 8,043 miles (12,944 km) itinerary of Toronto uses 298 seats 787-9s, Air Canada’s main widebody. There are 30 fully flat seats in Signature Class, 21 reclining seats in Premium Economy Class and 247 in Regular Economy Class.

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Toronto and Heathrow in Mumbai

Air Canada’s one-stop shop allows it to target Toronto-Mumbai point-to-point (P2P) traffic, which according to booking data totaled 134,000 round-trip passengers in 2019 (for obvious reason, it fell to a fraction of that in 2020 and 2021). It was the largest unserved Indian market in Canada, although it was small compared to Toronto-Delhi’s 482,000.

Heathrow-Mumbai had 529,000 passengers and booking data indicates the majority flew non-stop rather than via a hub. Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, was Mumbai’s third-largest international P2P market in terms of passengers, behind Dubai.

Photo: Andreas Wenz, Air Canada.

With Air Canada now serving the market, Heathrow-Mumbai has grown to 7 times a day non-stop flights on four airlines, as summarized below. This means that there are up to 1,968 daily starting seats for sale.

December 10 is the first day of this year with 7x a day. On this day, flights to Mumbai will depart from Heathrow at 09:30 (BA139, 777-200ER), 11:10 (AC856, 787-9), 15:10 (AI128, 787-8), 16:10 (BA135, A350-1000 ), 6:40 p.m. (VS354, 787-9), 8:40 p.m. (BA199, 777-200ER) and 8:45 p.m. (AI130, 787-8).

With 8x daily non-stop, the record was only held 27 times during the summer of 2006, according to Cirium hourly information. Five airlines – Air India (2x daily), BA (2x daily), Jet Airways (2x daily), bmi (1x daily) and Virgin (1x daily) – all operated.

What do you think of Air Canada’s entry? Let us know in the comments.