Stansted Airport has announced a three-flights-a-week service to India starting later this month.

The flights, operated by Air India from October 31, will have their destination as Amritsar, a city in the Indian northwestern state Punjab, close to the country's border with Pakistan.

The service will be the only direct one of its kind between Stansted and India, and will enjoy both business and economy classes in Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

London Stansted's chief executive, Ken O'Toole, said: "It is fantastic news that there will be a direct non-stop connection to Amritsar from Stansted Airport with Air India. Stansted is ideally situated to serve the Asian community in north and east London and across the East of England so we are delighted that Air India has recognised the customer demand for Amritsar."

Mr O'Toole said Stansted Airport had recently published a report calling for more long-distance services across the region.

He said: "Our ambition is to use our spare runway capacity to build our long-haul route network and improve the UK's connectivity with the rest of the world at a time when availability is in short supply across south-east airports. The welcome arrival of Air India is another positive step towards that goal."

Mr O'Toole also highlighted the business and tourism importance, as well as the popularity that India had among UK residents. He spoke about the airport's desire to strengthen aeronautical links between India and the UK over the next few years.

David Rooke, location services director at Invest ESSEX, said: "The introduction of this new direct route from Stansted Airport to Amritsar by Air India is what I am sure will be the start of a number of new direct connections.

"London Stansted is positioned at the heart of the UK's 'innovation corridor', adjoining the globally renowned cities of London and Cambridge, which is home to many world leading universities, research and development organisations, technology, life sciences and quantum technology companies. This new Air India route can only strengthen business trade and investment building upon the substantial and growing Indian owned business base in Essex."