For years now, the Conservative party has talked about rejuvenating northern economies in the UK, with former Chancellor George Osborne prominent in this regard. Despite this, there’s a significant chance that the Tories’ Brexit plan could actually cost jobs in the north, while the prospect of a no-deal would be even more detrimental to the region.

This issue may well be exacerbated by a fundamental lack of employability skills in the North West, with the region facing a significant skills gap as people continue to over-estimate their existing ability.

 

However, the announcement that Jet Airways is about to introduce a direct flight between Manchester and Dubai has provided an immediate boost to the North West economy, while underlining the city’s reputation as a prominent northern powerhouse. But what doors will this open and how will the economy really benefit?

 

From Manchester to Mumbai – What Does the Recent Announcement Mean in Headline Terms?

 

In headline terms, the launch of a direct flight between these two economic behemoths is expected to boost the North West economy by £400 million.

 

At the heart of this is Mumbai’s deserved reputation as the economic heartbeat of India, accounting for a quarter of industrial output and a staggering 70% of the nation’s capital transactions.

 

Jet Airways’ five-times-a-week service, which took off for the first time this week, will deliver the £400 million boost over the course of the next five years, while it’s also thought that the new flight path will support a hefty 2,000 jobs in the region.

 

It will also build on a burgeoning trade relationship between the UK and India, with the latter already our seventh largest commercial partner outside of Europe and the third largest exporter into the country. India has also invested heavily in cities like Manchester in recent times, creating upwards of 6,000 jobs in the north and throughout Great Britain.

 

What New Doors will the Flight Path Open?

 

Despite this, it’s fair to say that the new flight path has taken on even greater significance against the backdrop of Brexit.

 

After all, hard-line Brexiteers have spoken in glowing (if vague) terms about the potential to increase trade with India and similar nations once we’ve left the EU, and the timing of Jet Airways’ expansion could not have been better in this respect.

 

In addition to boosting trade and tourism with the fastest growing economy in the world, the new flight path may also make it easier for Manchester to attract the leading talent from Mumbai and other parts of India.

 

Remember, while immigration lawyers are still trying to understand the long-term fate of EU nationals residing in the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May has already said that migrants from the single bloc would no longer be afforded priority over skilled workers from Asia and the South Pacific.

 

While her words met with a harsh response from her colleagues, there’s no doubt that we’ll see a greater influx of skilled migrants from countries such as India post-Brexit, with Manchester’s growing tech industry likely to be a direct beneficiary of this in the near-term.

 

With this in mind, it’s clear that the new flight path will create considerable opportunities for Manchester and the North West as a whole, both in terms of continued economic growth and attracting top talent from overseas.