Virgin Atlantic is to start flying to India from Manchester airport next winter.

The airline confirmed that a seasonal Manchester-Delhi service will start on October 26.

The airline will run three flights a week using an Airbus A330-200 on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Fares go on sale on March 3, leading in at £535 return.

MoreVirgin Atlantic expands at Manchester airport [Sep 19]

The new route is in addition to a double daily service from Heathrow to Delhi and daily service to Mumbai.

The new Manchester flights will mean more than 600,000 seats a year will be offered between the UK and India.

Virgin Atlantic is also adding frequency from Manchester to Barbados and Heathrow to Havana in addition to a previously announced resumption of flights to Cape Town.

A Boeing 747 will fly three times a week from Manchester to Barbados from January 2021 in addition to daily flights from Gatwick and a seasonal winter service from Heathrow, raising capacity by 13%.

An additional weekly service will run to the Cuban capital of Havana to bring the frequency up to three flights a week using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen said: “2020 is an extremely exciting year of continued growth for Virgin Atlantic and increasing our presence out of Manchester is a huge focus for us.

“Not only are we the headline sponsor of the Manchester Pride Festival but we’re delighted to announce a new service flying three times a week from Manchester to Delhi, additional capacity into Barbados from Manchester as well as a Clubhouse opening this summer.

“This year will also see Flybe transform into Virgin Connect, and we’re excited to offer customers flying from the north 47 daily flights throughout the UK, Ireland and across Europe.

“2020 marks our 20th anniversary of flying to India and as the destination continues to grow in popularity for both business and leisure travel, we’re thrilled to fly to Delhi for very first time from Manchester, our home in the north.

“Additionally, we look forward launching new services from Heathrow to Sao Paulo and Cape Town as well as increasing capacity on our Heathrow to Havana route.”

Andrew Cowan, chief executive of Manchester airport and chair of the Manchester India Partnership, added: “Securing a direct service to one of India’s major cities is the product of a lot of hard work over a long period of time to forge closer ties between Manchester and this globally significant economy.

“I am delighted Virgin Atlantic has recognised this by launching what I’m sure will be a hugely popular service, not least for the 500,000 people of Indian origin living across the north.”