Just the tonic we needed after walking to work on a cold, blustery March morn: Richard Branson is mulling over introducing a direct service between London and Kerala.
Pressed during a holiday to the south Indian region about whether a connecting flight is on the cards, the Virgin Atlantic boss offered this gnomic reply: "It could be, but there is no immediate plan". Okay, it's hardly a ringing endorsement, but it has got Londonist dreaming of skipping away with ease to the idyllic backwaters and otherworldly charms of the land they call "God's own country".
London's links with South Asia are becoming ever-more numerous. Virgin last year indicated plans to open direct links to cities including Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and Amritsar, while our very own Mayor recently spearheaded a fact-finding mission to India, returning with a grab-bag of ideas and initiatives.
Branson’s thought-experiment comes just days after Virgin flew a passenger jet to Amsterdam, one of whose engines was powered by biofuel derived from coconut oil; and in a moment of serendipity, the name Kerala comes from the word “kera”, or “coconut”, in the local Malayalam language. We’d be surprised if an operator as savvy as Branson doesn’t sniff out this marketing gambit in the near future.
Picture of Keralan backwaters Hari_Menon's Flickrstream