Air India touches down at Copenhagen Airport to a warm welcome
On Saturday evening, Air India touched down at Copenhagen Airport for the first time. The aircraft was given the traditional runway water salute, after which representatives from both India and Denmark enjoyed Bhangra dancing and Indian food at Gate 39. The business community is ready to start using the service.
“Welcome. This is a historic day for Denmark as we reopen a direct link to India and bring our two countries even closer together,” said Copenhagen Airport CEO Thomas Woldbye.
The opening of the route on Saturday evening was attended by Air India’s new Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal and the company’s Commercial Director Pankaj Srivastava, India’s ambassador to Denmark Mr Ajit Gupte and Denmark’s ambassador to India Peter Taksøe-Jensen, all of whom have been keen advocates for the route between New Delhi and Copenhagen.
Pankaj Srivastava expressed his delight and satisfaction at the opening of the new direct route between New Delhi and Copenhagen: “If there's one airline in particular that is ‘happy’ to extend its network to the world’s top country in the ‘happiness index’, it's Air India,” he said.
The direct route, which will be served by one of Air India’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, is the result of many years of negotiation and close collaboration between Copenhagen Airport and Air India – and, not least, the Danish and Indian authorities.
“The new route to India is a historic breakthrough,” says Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, CEO of Wonderful Copenhagen, home of Greater Copenhagen Connected, the route development programme that has helped establish the new route. “The number of Indians travelling abroad has doubled on a global level in just a few years. Now we’re connected with a huge market, which will benefit not just Copenhagen, but the whole of Denmark and southern Sweden.”
New route to get royal seal of approval
In the near future, the new route will get a royal seal of approval. Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte will be a passenger on Air India’s service from Copenhagen when she travels to India to attend this year’s World Conference of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
Danish companies are also ready to begin using the new route. In November, the first large Danish business delegation, headed by the Danish Minister for the Environment and Food, will fly to New Delhi for the World Food India conference. And many more are expected to follow.
Danish trade with India is currently worth around DKK 10 billion, and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes there is potential for much more. With a population of 1.3 billion people and economic growth of around 7%, India’s influence in the world is growing – hence the desire to re-establish a direct air route from Denmark.
In India, the Danish embassy has worked closely with the airport to make the route a reality.
“Denmark and India have now been brought closer together, to the huge benefit of growth, trade and, just as importantly, contact between the Danish and Indian peoples,” says Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen. “India is now as close to Denmark as the East Coast of the USA, which will definitely result in many more Danes heading east to discover the fantastic Indian culture. ”
New holiday destinations for travel-loving Danes
With the new direct route, Danish travellers can also look forward to better, faster connections to Indian holiday destinations such as Goa and Kerala, as well as the exciting city of New Delhi. The route will also provide better connections to Australia and other destinations in Asia.
Facts about Air India
- Air India will fly from Copenhagen to Delhi on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays departing at 20:45.
- Like SAS, Air India is a member of Star Alliance. This means that SAS, in partnership with Air India, can fly passengers from all over Scandinavia via Copenhagen to India.
- Danish travellers will also be able to fly via Air India’s hub in New Delhi and on to e.g. Australia and other destinations in Asia.
- India has the world’s second biggest population of around 1.3 billion people.
- Delhi, located in north-east India, is the country’s capital and the second-biggest city after Mumbai. The 2011 national census recorded 16.7 million inhabitants of Delhi. It is estimated that the city is now home to more than 20 million people.
- Air India currently flies to eight destinations in Europe from New Delhi.