Air Canada has introduced London Heathrow to Mumbai, which begins and ends in Toronto. It marks its return to the airport pair after last operating it 31 years ago as part of a longer routing. It comes as Air India recently revealed Mumbai-San Francisco nonstop.

The launch of the one-stop via London comes as Air Canada, keen to grow India flights farther, was originally to begin Toronto-Mumbai nonstop to target Canada’s largest unserved Indian market. It didn’t, presumably because of the consequences of avoiding Ukraine and Russian airspace, raising the question of whether the one-stop is just temporary.

Air Canada begins Heathrow-Mumbai

On October 30th, Air Canada took off from Heathrow to Mumbai. Including 2h 40m ground time in the UK, the travel time between Toronto and Mumbai is 18h 25m out and 20h 40m back. It isn’t the quickest option, but it is pretty competitive. Of course, it has fifth freedom traffic rights between London and Mumbai.

The schedule is as follows, with all times local:

  • Toronto to Heathrow: AC856, 20:30-08:30+1 (7h block time)
  • 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-mile (12,944km) route from Toronto uses 298-seat 787-9s, Air Canada’s primary widebody. There are 30 fully flat seats in Signature Class, 21 recliner seats in premium economy, and 247 in regular economy.

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Air Canada AC856 Heathrow to Mumbai

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Toronto and Heathrow to Mumbai

Air Canada’s one-stop enables it to target Toronto-Mumbai point-to-point (P2P) traffic, which booking data shows totaled 134,000 roundtrip passengers in 2019. For an obvious reason, it fell to a fraction of that in 2020 and 2021. It was Canada’s largest unserved India market, although it was small compared to Toronto-Delhi’s 482,000.

Heathrow-Mumbai had 529,000 passengers, and booking data indicates that the majority flew nonstop rather than via a hub. Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, was Mumbai’s third-largest P2P international market by passengers, behind only Dubai.

Air Canada Mumbai route launch

Photo: Andreas Wenz, Air Canada.

With Air Canada now serving the market, Heathrow-Mumbai has risen up to 7x daily nonstop flights across four airlines, as summarized below. It means that there are up to 1,968 daily departing seats for sale.

December 10th is the first day this year with 7x daily. That day, Mumbai-bound flights will leave Heathrow at 09:30 (BA139, 777-200ER), 11:10 (AC856, 787-9), 15:10 (AI128, 787-8), 16:10 (BA135, A350-1000), 18:40 (VS354, 787-9), 20:40 (BA199, 777-200ER), and 20:45 (AI130, 787-8).

With 8x daily nonstops, the record was held on just 27 occasions in summer 2006, according to Cirium schedules 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 make of Air Canada’s entry? Let us know in the comments.


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