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Category Archives: Virgin Atlantic Airways

Delta to fly the Philadelphia-London Heathrow route starting on April 8, 2015

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will expand their partnership between the U.K. and U.S. next year with the introduction of Delta’s nonstop service from London to Philadelphia.

Starting on April 8, 2015 the daily service will be Delta’s eighth destination to the U.S. from Heathrow. By next summer, the partnership will offer 39 daily flights to 16 destinations across North America from the U.K..

Delta’s Philadelphia service will be operated from Heathrow Terminal 4 using a Boeing 757-200 aircraft with 164 seats. Passengers travelling in the BusinessElite cabin will enjoy fully flat-bed seats and a range of dining options. Additionally, throughout the aircraft, all passengers will have access to on-demand in-flight entertainment.

To date, more than four million people have flown on the Delta-Virgin Atlantic partnership.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-TWA/American Boeing 757-2Q8 N706TW (msn 28165) arrives in New York (JFK).

Delta aircraft slide show (current livery): AG Slide Show

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Virgin Atlantic introduces the new Boeing 787-9 on the Boston route

Virgin Atlantic She is Here

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) yesterday (October 28) introduced its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (G-VNEW, “Birthday Girl) on the London (Heathrow)-Boston route as planned.

The airline celebrated the new launch with this entry in its blog:

In 1984, the inaugural Virgin Atlantic transatlantic flight took place. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of this historic event, we’re introducing our new Boeing 787-9, also known as the ‘Dreamliner.’

Named “Birthday Girl”, this brand new aircraft started flying from London to Boston, on October 28, 2014. It’s a whole new chapter for air travel. Here’s why…

The Virgin Atlantic Boeing Dreamliner 787-9The new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Prepare for an evolution in air travel

A strong connection

Now, you can stay connected throughout the whole flight with the onboard WiFi connection. So you can tweet from your seat or make a call mid air.

The Wander Wall

Head over to grab a bite to eat or a drink and meet other travellers at the Wander Wall in Premium Economy. And make sure you say hello to our friendly cabin crew, because if there’s one thing they love, it’s getting to know customers from across the globe. Stretching your legs has never been so interesting.

A bright idea

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Mood Lighting
The dynamic new mood lighting on board the 787 Dreamliner

Feel lighter, brighter and say goodbye to jet lag. The new dynamic mood lighting on the 787 adjusts throughout the flight to the destination time zone, helping you arrive feeling relaxed and as energised as you would on a normal day.

Drinks all round

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Dreamliner Bar
The Dreamliner Bar, a social space for Upper Class travellers

The Upper Class Bar is the new social space for Upper Class travellers. You can relax, chat to friends and other customers. Or just take some time out to enjoy the extraordinary views over your favourite drink. Unwinding never felt so good.

Sitting comfortably

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Seat

The new 787 offers maximum legroom and soft seating throughout all cabins

Economy seating on the 787 is more comfortable than ever. We’ve made the most of the space around the seats, so there’s maximum legroom and plenty of space for reclining. Whichever cabin you’re in, the seats are soft and beautifully designed. And if you’re travelling in Upper Class, you can look forward to stretching out in a 33″ wide flat bed. Ceilings throughout are also higher, allowing more air and light to circulate and giving a feeling of space and freedom.

Time flies

Birthday Girl has a maximum altitude of 40,000 feet, a range of over 8,300 miles and speeds of over 640 mph. Prepare to reach your destination faster than you ever thought possible.

Pure and simple

Feeling comfortable onboard the 787 goes even further than advanced seating and ample legroom. The air’s cleaner and the cabin pressure is lower, meaning you’ll arrive feeling refreshed and revived. Not only that, the windows are the largest on any commercial aircraft. So you can eat, dine or relax in perfectly natural light. And when you’re ready for the end of the day, the dynamic mood lighting and electronically dimmable windows lower the brightness.

Ending on a high note

Our new 787 is 21% more fuel efficient than the aircraft it’s replacing. It’s innovation at its greenest.

Our 787 Dreamliner is innovative, luxurious and miles ahead. And it’s built to make flying even more enjoyable.

All images by Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Delta and Virgin Atlantic this weekend add to their trans-Atlantic joint venture with two swapped flights

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) this weekend are marking the launch of their new services between London (Heathrow) and Los Angeles and London-Heathrow and Atlanta respectively.

The new routes are the first transfer of operations between the two airlines since the launch of their joint venture earlier this year and will offer more choice and flexibility for both airlines’ customers on these key routes across the Atlantic.

From Sunday, Delta will be flying nonstop from London to California for the first time with one of two daily Heathrow-Los Angeles flights previously operated by Virgin Atlantic. The route is Delta’s seventh nonstop destination between London and the United States. Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, is operating its first ever flights into the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, having taken over one of Delta’s three daily services, and is now able to offer more than 100 additional international and domestic connections to its customers at Delta’s hub airport.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic will operate their Los Angeles and Atlanta services at Heathrow Terminal 3. This co-location adds to the New York-JFK, Boston and Seattle/Tacoma joint venture flights, which already operate from Terminal 3. This provides convenient connections and a seamless customer experience for passengers of both airlines, including access to Virgin Atlantic’s award winning Clubhouse for all business class passengers. Both carriers also offer full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access on all business class flights between the U.K and U.S..

Virgin Atlantic expects to fly around 160,000 passengers annually to Atlanta and beyond on its new service providing convenient connections to Delta flights across the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Virgin Atlantic has recently announced plans to add a second daily seasonal flight to Atlanta in summer 2015 as part of a package of investment into North American routes that will see the total number of peak day flights operated by the joint venture at 37 from March.

Since the start of the Delta and Virgin Atlantic trans-Atlantic joint venture, 3.5 million passengers have experienced the benefits of the partnership. The two airlines also have a codeshare agreement in place, maximizing the customer appeal of the joint schedule. The partnership enables the airlines to offer more flight choices for travellers on both sides of the Atlantic by improving their travel options.

Top Copyright Photo: Delta will operate the Boeing 767-300 ER on the LHR-LAX route. Delta’s Boeing 767-332 ER N16065 (msn 30199) now carries special “Andrew Young – Atlanta ‘s Ambassador to the World” markings by the nose saluting the diplomatic career of Atlanta native Andrew Young.

Delta Air Lines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic will operate the Airbus A330-300 on the LHR-ATL route. Airbus A330-343 G-VUFO (msn 1352) climbs away from the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Virgin Atlantic takes delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) and Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 787-9 Dreamliner yesterday (October 9). The airline is the first European airline to take delivery of the 787-9 and plans to operate the airplane initially on its London Heathrow to Boston route.

Virgin Atlantic’s first 787-9 touched down at London’s Gatwick Airport today (October 10) following a more than 7,400 kilometer (4,000 nautical mile) nonstop flight from Paine Field in Everett, Washington. The 787-9 registered as G-VNEW (msn 40956) (above), is named ‘Birthday Girl’ in reference to the UK carrier’s 30th anniversary and is the first of 16 787-9s Virgin Atlantic has ordered from Boeing.

The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 830 kilometers (450 nautical miles) with the same exceptional environmental performance – 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than the airplanes they replace.

The airplane leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passenger-pleasing features such as large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.

Based out of London’s Gatwick and Heathrow Airports, as well as Manchester and Glasgow Airports, Virgin Atlantic Airways operates a fleet of approximately 40 airplanes. Along with its first 787-9, the British operator also has a Boeing fleet of 12 Boeing 747-400s operating on routes across North America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

To date, nearly 60 customers from around the world have ordered more than 1,000 Dreamliners, approximately 40 percent of which are 787-9s.

Virgin Atlantic Anatomy of a 787

Above: Anatomy of a Boeing 787.

Virgin Atlantic logo (large-1)

Meet Hayley Burton, Virgin Atlantic’s 787 Program Manager (from the Virgin Atlantic blog):

In October, we’re welcoming ‘Birthday Girl’ – the new Boeing 787-9 aircraft that will lead our 16-strong Dreamliner fleet – which might just go down in history as the planes that revolutionized our business. And while we’re bursting with excitement about it, we’ve been working up to this moment for several years. Someone who has been helping keep the project running smoothly from the very beginning is Hayley Burton, a Program Planner and self-confessed airline geek.

Virgin Atlantic Haylet Burton #1

Hayley wasn’t always an airline geek though. In fact, she started as a Business/Data Analyst and joined Virgin Atlantic three and a half years ago, supporting projects in Engineering. “I’ve always been interested in many different things. Following my school education, I started my work life as a legal secretary and ended up forging a career within Information Management & Technology for the NHS. I then completed a HND in Computing & Software Development as formal qualification of my skills and knowledge within this area.”

Although Hayley didn’t forecast a career in aviation, when she saw the role within Virgin Atlantic, she couldn’t resist applying. “I saw the ad and my best friend, who works at Virgin Atlantic, said I’d really fit in here – so that was it really!” And even though she wasn’t a specialist or industry expert, her transferable skills and drive to tackle big challenges head-on, meant she saw the potential for her skills to contribute to our business, but also the chance to learn something new too.

The 787 program

“Moving onto the 787 program was a real opportunity for me to understand the other elements of the business and where and how they all worked together. When I was working in Engineering, that was the only area I learned about. Now, I’m fortunate enough to be able to look at lots of elements with multiple areas – from Flight Operations to Cabin Crew and Service Delivery. It’s really enabled me to see the airline as a whole.”

It’s true. As Program Planner, Hayley really does have a finger in almost every pie. “I oversee the entire project planning within the programme. I create a very high-level plan and track all of our business areas within it. So it’s really about understanding what people have to deliver and when, their required outcomes, identifying any potential risks and how they’re managed – including financials. I’m also part of the 787 comms team, so I’m regularly in touch with internal and external stakeholders, and I’m also a bit of a right-hand-man for my Program Manager. I liaise with my Boeing counter-part who I collaborate with on a regular basis in order to review the plans and share information on our progress.”

Virgin Atlantic Hayley Burton #2

Hayley says the moment Boeing toured the UK with the 787 and she got to see it upfront, was when she realized what a great project this was. “This fleet is so important to our business; it’s a real game-changer. Not only will the fuel efficiency save us money, but the aircraft are e-enabled, meaning they use state-of-the-art technology.”

“From a technology perspective we’ve installed and built a new IT infrastructure in order to process the waves of data that we’re going to receive from the aircraft and that’s really exciting. It’ll be used to work out how we fly, what routes we take, how we maintain the aircraft and how we can improve all those things”.

It’s been a challenging project but one that she says has been exciting and well-executed. “We’ve definitely rolled our sleeves up and thrown ourselves at this. Boeing has told us that we out-weigh other operators in being prepared for this aircraft. And as the arrival of the first aircraft draws ever closer, we’ve set up a countdown clock – you can feel the excitement. We have a fantastic programme team and everyone has really pulled together.”

Visiting Seattle

While she’s impressed with the team and how our areas work together, she’s says the highlight so far has been her visit to Boeing’s Everett hangar in Seattle – the world’s largest building by volume.

“We travelled around the hangar in golf carts and there were people just everywhere constructing these four airplanes on the 787 production line – they were literally being built before my eyes. It was just amazing. I really got to see something that people – even in the industry – don’t usually get to see.”

So apart from once-in-a-lifetime experiences, what’s the best part of working on this project? “Everything surprises me about this job. I’ve learned so much through my work on this program, it’s unbelievable. My knowledge about how the airline industry works is immense and I’m still trying to cram it into my brain!”

“My goal is to manage a major program like this in the future; the skills and experiences I’ve built upon by working at Virgin Atlantic makes me feel optimistic about my future career.”

Update: On October 23, 2014 the new type entered revenue service on the London (Heathrow)-Atlanta route. The airline issued this statement:

Virgin Atlantic’s first Boeing 787 aircraft, Birthday Girl took to the skies October 23, flying from London to Atlanta on a special celebration flight.

Guests on board include BRIT Award-winning 4-piece Rudimental and hit-makers Gorgon City (below). The two London based bands will perform the first ever gig to be live streamed from over the Atlantic Ocean to the world and a plane packed full of VIP guests and an exclusive audience of super fans who won spaces on the flight.

Virgin Atlantic Rudimental and Gordon City

Also on board is TV chef Lorraine Pascale. Best known for her hit TV series and recipe books, Lorraine has been working with the team at the airline to create signature dishes for Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class passengers along with a variety of children’s meals to be served throughout every cabin.

Dishes on-board will include Lorraine’s “Marvellous” mac’n’cheese with pancetta, Sweet & sour pork balls with sunshine rice and “Mum’s” chili con carne with calypso rice.

Lorraine’s new menu will be officially launched on services leaving the UK from 28th October but as a special one-off all guests on board the celebration flight to Atlanta will have the chance to experience her new dishes in every cabin.

To accompany Lorraine’s amazing food and making a special appearance on board for the first time is Virgin Atlantic’s new sparkling wine from English winery Hambledon Vineyard. Proudly grown and produced in Hampshire, Meon Hill Grand Reserve has been specifically selected to compliment the cabin pressure and humidity of the 787 cabin and has been found to stay bubbly for longer. The new sparkling wine will be launched on Birthday Girl and will be available exclusively on the 787 aircraft.

Birthday Girl will start her first commercial flight on October 28 to Boston and other Dreamliners will be deployed on other key London to US East Coast market initially, with subsequent services between Heathrow and Washington, Heathrow and Newark and Heathrow and New York JFK scheduled to start in the following five months.

Video of the live performance:

Top Copyright Photo: Daniel Gorun/AirlinersGallery.com. G-VNEW arrives back at Paine Field after a sunset test flight.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Video:

 

Virgin Atlantic to shut down Little Red next year

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is shutting down its Airbus A320 feeder operation operated by Aer Lingus (Dublin). The feeder flights known as “Little Red” will end on September 26, 2015. The operation currently feeds London (Heathrow) from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester. Manchester flights will end sooner on March 28, 2015.

The Little Red operation is flown by four wet leased Airbus A320s.

Aberdeen flights began on April 9, 2013
Edinburgh flights began on April 5, 2013
Manchester flights began on March 31, 2013

On October 6 the airline issued this statement:

Little Red was launched in March 2013 as an attempt to reintroduce consumer choice on key domestic services after British Airways’ takeover of bmi gifted them a monopoly on these routes. Over the past eighteen months, Little Red has delivered for consumers, leading the way on customer service and on-time performance at Heathrow. Flying well over a million passengers between London, Scotland and Manchester, Little Red also offers convenient onward connections to the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s worldwide network.

Bookings grew steadily for the service in the first part of 2014 with the airline enjoying excellent customer feedback. However the demand has been predominantly from point to point customers rather than connecting traffic. High levels of connections onto Virgin Atlantic’s long haul network have always been important to the success of Little Red.

Chief Executive Craig Kreeger has committed to returning Virgin Atlantic to profit by the end of this year and the airline is on track to deliver that, however Little Red has unfortunately not been able to make a positive contribution to Virgin Atlantic’s network.

Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Craig Kreeger said:

“Little Red came about through an enduring passion at Virgin Atlantic to make a difference for our customers. We really wanted it to be a success and everyone involved worked extremely hard and has given it their best efforts.

“It was always a huge challenge on behalf of the consumer, as the totally inadequate number of slots made available by the European Commission did not deliver close to BA’s network position, even when supplemented by our own slots to fly between Heathrow and Manchester. The time lag between the takeover of bmi and our entering the market also meant Little Red initially faced an uphill battle to win recognition and convert customers to its services.

“While this challenged environment meant Little Red ultimately did not deliver the results we had hoped, this certainly will not dampen our enthusiasm to try new things in the future. We have always fought for what we believe is best for our customers and we will continue to do so.

“We’re very grateful for all of the support and goodwill shown to Little Red in Scotland and Manchester, where we received a warm welcome. I would also like to personally thank the Little Red team who have been fantastic ambassadors providing exceptionally high levels of customer service. We look forward to continuing to work with the Little Red cabin crew as we will be offering them roles on our long haul operation when these services end.”

The President of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson, said:

“When the competition authorities allowed British Airways to take over British Midland and all of its slots, we feared there was little we could do to challenge BA’s huge domestic and European network built through decades of dominance.

“To remedy this, we were offered a meagre package of slots with a number of constraints on how to use them and we decided to lease a few planes on a short term basis to give it our best shot. The odds were stacked against us and sadly we just couldn’t attract enough corporate business on these routes. We will stop flying the Little Red services between Manchester and London at the end of March 2015 and the Aberdeen and Edinburgh services at the end of September 2015.

“The team did their absolute best to make a go of it and I thank them all for their amazing efforts. In the meantime, keep flying on Little Red where you’ll continue to get amazing offers and great service.”

Virgin Atlantic would like to thank its customers and teams in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Heathrow and Manchester as well as its partner Aer Lingus, for their loyalty and commitment to Little Red and looks forward to continuing to work with them on the service over the next 12 months.

Passengers can continue to book with Little Red with confidence until this time and frequent fliers will be able to enjoy special loyalty benefits for doing so. There will be an increased earning incentive per-sector as well as a significant reduction in the number of Flying Club miles needed to redeem a flight.

The airline remains committed to its operations in both Manchester and Scotland. Its existing services from Manchester to Orlando, Barbados and Las Vegas will continue, with the addition next summer of a new daily Virgin Atlantic flight between Manchester and Atlanta. In Scotland, the popular seasonal service from Glasgow to Orlando will continue with eight extra return flights just announced for summer 2015, alongside a new route between Glasgow and Las Vegas.

The decision on the airline’s short haul carrier follows a major review of Virgin Atlantic’s wider network. Last month the airline announced a network update delivering five new daily transatlantic flights and an ambition to grow to record levels of sustained profitability by 2018. This will be supported by a major programme of work that will see £300m invested into customer experience.

Read the analysis by City Index: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus’Airbus A320-214 EI-DEI (msn 2374) in Virgin Atlantic’s colors arrives at London (Heathrow).

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic is close to making a decision on 5 additional Boeing 787s, updates its fleet retirement plans

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is close to making a decision on its five Boeing 787 options according to this report by Bloomberg. The British carrier is updating its fleet plans as it retires its older aircraft types with the new generation aircraft.

According to the report, Virgin Atlantic will retire the last Airbus A340-300 (above) at the end of February 2015. The last five Boeing 747-400s will leave the fleet between September 2015 and July 2016.

Two Airbus A340-600s will be retired at the beginning of 2015.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. The older Airbus A340-300s will be the first to be retired in February. Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Airbus A340-313 G-VFAR (msn 225) climbs away from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic’s first Boeing 787-9 makes its first flight

Virgin Atlantic Airways‘ (London) first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registered as G-VNEW (msn 40956) and named “Birthday Girl” (above) yesterday (September 23) made its first flight at Paine Field near Everett, Washington.

Top Copyright Photo: Bernie Leighton/AirlinersGallery.com. G-VNEW is pictured at Paine Field preparing for its first flight.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Daniel Gorun. G-VNEW arrives back at Paine Field after the historic first flight.

Virgin Australia 787-9 G-VNEW (10)(Ldg) PAE (DGR)(LRW)

Video: The building of the first Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9:

Virgin Atlantic to operate the new Boeing 787-9 between London Heathrow and Newark, will it drop Little Red?

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 (10)(Flt)(Virgin Atlantic)(LR)

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is getting its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (G-VAHH, msn 37967) later this month. The airline will also 264-seat introduce its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the London (Heathrow)-Newark route starting on January 19, 2015 per Airline Route. This will be the third route for the new type. The 787-9 will enter revenue service on October 28 on the London (Heathrow)-Boston route as previously reported.

Virgin Atlantic logo (large)

In other news, the airline is not commenting on media speculation that it may be considering dropping its Little Red (operated by Aer Lingus) operation due to poor loads. Little Red operates feeder flights from London (Heathrow) to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester.

Read the full story from The Telegraph: CLICK HERE

Image above: Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Operated by Aer Lingus, Airbus A320-214 EI-EZV (msn 2001) of Little Red arrives at the London (Heathrow) hub.

Virgin Atlantic to drop Cape Town, Mumbai, Tokyo Narita and Vancouver

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is closely aligning its network with Delta Air Lines (Atlanta), discontinuing four destinations which will free up aircraft for more promising routes or adding to profitable existing routes. The carrier will drop all service to Cape Town (April 27, 2015), Mumbai (February 1, 2015), Tokyo Narita (February 1, 2015) and Vancouver (October 11, 2014). The company issued this statement outlining this major revamp of its system:

Virgin Atlantic has identified opportunities for investment into its trans-Atlantic schedule as it looks to maximize the benefits of its joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines.

We are outlining a program of network changes that will significantly increase our presence in the key UK – US travel market, whilst we continue to fly to major strategic destinations in the rest of the world and retain a relevant global presence.

The proposed changes include:

A new daily service from London Heathrow to Detroit offering new connections across North and Central USA such as Cincinnati, New Orleans, Memphis and Indianapolis*

A fifth daily service from London Heathrow to New York, JFK

An additional daily service from London Heathrow to Los Angeles

An additional daily service during the summer season from London Heathrow to Atlanta

An additional summer seasonal service from London Heathrow to San Francisco flying five times a week

An additional daily service during the winter season from London Heathrow to Miami

A transfer of operations with joint venture partner Delta Air Lines that will see Virgin Atlantic fly a daily service between Manchester and Atlanta and Delta fly one of Virgin Atlantic’s existing London Heathrow to Newark services**.

Across the joint venture, Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines will now offer ten daily services from London to the New York area.

In addition, Delta Air Lines will launch a new daily service between Manchester and New York JFK in Summer 2015.

In order to maximize these opportunities, further proposed changes will include:

A withdrawal of operations to Tokyo Narita with the final flight from London to Narita on January 31, 2015 and the final flight from Tokyo Narita to London on February 1, 2015.

A withdrawal of operations to Mumbai with the final flight from London to Mumbai on January 31, 2015 and the final flight from Mumbai to London on February 1, 2015.

The summer seasonal service from London Heathrow to Vancouver will not return after this season’s flying program is completed on October 11, 2014.

The winter seasonal service to Cape Town will operate as planned in winter 2014/15 but will not be renewed the following winter. The final flight from London to Cape Town will be on April 26, 2015 and the final flight from Cape Town to London on April 27, 2015.

Craig Kreeger, Chief Executive at Virgin Atlantic said:

“Our ambition is to be profitable for the long term, earn competitive returns, and invest those into providing the very best experience for our customers on the routes they most want to fly.”

“Trans-Atlantic flying has always been at the heart of our network and our most financially successful region. This announcement allows us to play to our strengths and focus our network on routes between the UK and US, as well as other critical global destinations that are most important to our customers.”

“We are confident that with this strengthened network, our new aircraft and our welcoming people delivering unrivalled service, we have all the right ingredients to achieve long-term success.”

Customer investment

Among the plans the airline has set out is a commitment to investing in customer experience. A major program of work is already underway that will see £300m invested by the end of 2018, on the ground and in the air.

The imminent arrival of Virgin Atlantic’s first Boeing 787-9 will continue a fleet modernization program of over £2bn that will give it one of the youngest fleets in the world.

Virgin Atlantic would like to thank its customers and staff in Tokyo, Cape Town, Mumbai and Vancouver for their loyalty and commitment to our services.

In the future if Heathrow gains its long overdue expansion, Virgin Atlantic would love to re-enter Tokyo, Cape Town, Mumbai and Vancouver.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. As part of this master plan, the Boeing 747-400 fleet will slowly being reduced. Boeing 747-443 G-VROY (msn 32340) lands in Las Vegas.

Virgin Atlantic Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic introduces new cabin staff uniforms

Virgin Atlantic logo

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has introduced new cabin staff uniforms with redesigned uniforms by the British fashion icon Vivienne Westwood.

Read the full story from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic celebrated its 30th anniversary on June 22, 2014.

Videos:

Virgin Atlantic to introduce the new Boeing 787-9 on the Boston route

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 (10)(Flt)(Virgin Atlantic)(LR)

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has announced it will introduce its new 264-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the London (Heathrow)-Boston (Logan) route on October 28. The first 787 is due in September with 16 on order. After BOS, the 787 will be deployed to other U.S. East Coast cities from London. London Heathrow-Washington Dulles 787 service will start on December 17 and London Heathrow-New York JFK will follow on February 28, 2015.

Virgin Atlantic issued this statement:

We’re delighted to reveal the plans for our new $5 billion Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet, continuing our investment in our customer experience. Flying from ‘old’ England to New England, the aircraft’s first route will be between London Heathrow and Boston, with the service scheduled to start on October 28 and fly six times a week.

It’s 30 years since Sir Richard Branson took Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight across the Atlantic from London Heathrow to New York Newark on the June 22, 1984. To celebrate this 30th milestone, the new 787 aircraft is named ‘Birthday Girl’ and features some very special paintwork. For the first time ever, our iconic Virgin Atlantic ‘Flying Lady’ will be displayed face on – and she is carrying a celebratory champagne flute!

Setting the bar

After the Boston launch, we’ll deploy our Dreamliners on other key London to US East Coast markets initially, with subsequent services between Heathrow and Washington, Heathrow and Newark and Heathrow and New York JFK scheduled to start in the following five months. As the fleet grows, the aircraft will also benefit passengers on longer-haul routes where the on-board experience and fuel efficiency benefits are even further amplified.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming this aircraft to our fleet,” said our chief executive Craig Kreeger.

“For the last 30 years we’ve been proudly serving and delighting our customers and we know the Dreamliner will set us the bar to take that even further, bringing with it new innovations and a cutting edge product for them to enjoy.”

“The 787-9 will represent over half of our fleet by 2018, which demonstrates our commitment to the Dreamliner as the centrepiece of our future fleet. We’re looking forward to the next 30 years.”

Virgin Atlantic will be the first European carrier to take the larger Boeing 787-9 version of the Dreamliner, with the first aircraft planned for delivery in late September. Our aircraft will initially be configured with 31 Upper Class, 35 Premium Economy and 198 Economy seats.

Upper Class passengers will enjoy a new iteration of our ‘Upper Class Suite’ which incorporates all of the popular features of this, along with some new design elements. There is a refreshed Premium Economy cabin with an even more comfortable seat design and a social space where customers can stretch their legs and mingle with other passengers – the Wander Wall. Economy seats will be best-in-class with the Recaro 3620 model. Passengers throughout the aircraft will benefit from access to wifi connectivity, with the latest in in-flight entertainment, and dynamic mood lighting throughout.

New efficiencies

As well as the passenger benefits, the Boeing 787-9 will bring us major commercial and environmental benefits. Radically improved fuel efficiency means it is 21% more efficient on a per flight bases than the equivalent sized aircraft in our fleet, allowing it to be a major driver of both our return to profitability and our commitment to improve carbon efficiency by 30% before 2020.

It also has a 60% smaller noise footprint than aircraft of a comparable size, meaning large areas around Heathrow airport will be less affected by our operations with these aircraft. The 787-9 is key in achieving the industry leading commitments we set out in our Noise Management Strategy last autumn.

Further details around the look and feel of the interior of our new Dreamliners will be revealed soon.

Image: Boeing and Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Delta and Virgin Atlantic unveil a new schedule between London Heathrow and Atlanta and Los Angeles, Virgin Atlantic to fly to Atlanta

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will transfer operations for nonstop flights connecting London-Heathrow to both Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport this winter, offering more choices for the airlines’ customers on key routes across the Atlantic.

Effective October 26, 2014, Delta will begin operating one of two daily Heathrow-Los Angeles flights currently operated by Virgin Atlantic. This new Delta service will mark the airline’s first nonstop flight between Los Angeles and London Heathrow and is Delta’s seventh nonstop destination between London and the United States. Virgin Atlantic will begin operating one of Delta’s three daily flights between Heathrow and Atlanta. The two airlines will codeshare on each other’s operated services, allowing Delta and Virgin customers seamless access to the expanded network.

This announcement also shows how the partnership, which launched on January 1, 2014, is increasing the network of each carrier. Virgin Atlantic will have access to Delta’s Atlanta hub, the busiest airport in the world, for the first time, providing expansive and unprecedented access for Virgin Atlantic customers to connect to points throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The airline will now be able to offer more than 100 additional international and domestic connections to its customers. This brings the total number of connections available through the partnership to more than 200.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic’s new winter 2014 schedule between Heathrow and Los Angeles and Atlanta:

Virgin Atlantic-Delta ATL LAX schedule

Combined, the two airlines operate a total of 32 peak daily nonstop flights between North America and the U.K., including 24 flights between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations. Delta recently co-located its New York, Boston and Seattle routes into Terminal 3 – Virgin Atlantic’s home at Heathrow Airport. This move provided additional choice and flexibility to customers while reducing onward transit times.

Virgin Atlantic will continue to operate two daily services to Los Angeles and Delta will continue to fly three daily services to Atlanta, until October 26, 2014.

Delta will continue to operate its Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul services from London Heathrow’s Terminal 4.

Virgin Atlantic will operate its Atlanta flight from Heathrow Terminal 3.

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic is coming to Atlanta. Airbus A330-343X G-VKSS (msn 1201) is pictured arriving in Miami.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

 

Virgin Atlantic reduces its full-year loss to $85.7 million for 2013

Virgin Atlantic Ltd (VAL) Group (Virgin Atlantic Airways) (London) reported its financial results for the calendar year ending December 31, 2013. The results demonstrate strong progress towards the airline’s target to return to profitability by the end of this year, with a pre-tax loss of £51 million ($85.7 million). The airline set out a two year recovery program at the start of 2013 and the improved financial performance in the first year was largely driven by an increased revenue performance and greater operational efficiencies.

These results are based on Virgin Atlantic’s new financial reporting period which now aligns with the calendar year. As a result of the change in financial year, the Group is also disclosing statements to cover a 10 month period for March to December 2013, which show a £7 million pre-tax profit.

Calendar year ending December 31, 2013 Group Performance (pro forma figures given are for the calendar year to aid comparison.)

A Group pre-tax loss over 12 months of £51 million, an improvement of 50% on the calendar year ending December 2012 (£102 million pre-tax loss). The pre-tax result over 10 months was a £7 million profit.

Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Craig Kreeger has committed to returning the airline to profit by the end of 2014 and has set out a clearly defined strategy to transform the financial performance of the business.

Craig Kreeger said:

“The Group has made good progress in 2013 towards our target of a return to profitability by the end of this year. We have implemented a programme of measures which put in place firm foundations for future success and our results to this point show that we are delivering against our plan.

“Our strategy has been to focus on network, alliances and managing our cost base in a way which has not impacted on the customer. For example, use of a new fuel management system delivered savings of £8m in a single year.

“We have also increased our revenues and passenger numbers, which is the result of both a committed workforce providing exceptional customer service and a loyal customer base with high advocacy. We’re thrilled with the response we’re seeing from our customers.”

The period covered in the accounts published today was a significant one for Virgin Atlantic. During the year it received approval for its Joint Venture with Delta Air Lines and launched a code share agreement with the US carrier. The partnership will deliver significant customer and commercial benefits and allow both airlines to compete more effectively in the transatlantic market.

A new domestic short haul operation, Virgin Atlantic Little Red, was launched to reinstate competition on three routes which had previously been subject to a monopoly – between London Heathrow and Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Manchester – and give renewed choice for connections to the long haul network.

It was also the first full year in which all 10 of the airline’s twin-engine A330 fleet were in operation. These aircraft delivered significant fuel savings leading to an average 6% less fuel being consumed on each flight when compared with the previous year.

Virgin Atlantic has further key developments planned for this year as it celebrates its 30th year of flying and challenging the status quo. The joint venture with Delta Air Lines is now in place, giving passengers more options to fly than ever before: including 9 flights a day from London Heathrow to New York and onward connections with Delta to 84 US destinations. The first in a fleet of 16 Boeing 787-9 ‘Dreamliners’ will arrive from the autumn, an aircraft which is expected to deliver a step-change for the business and allow the retirement of older four engine aircraft.

There will be noticeable improvements for passengers, with an industry-leading new service training program for staff, and technological improvements such as a wifi roll-out and expanded use of personal electronic devices throughout each flight. Virgin Atlantic recently became the first airline to trial wearable technology with Google Glass, and will shortly rollout a new uniform, designed by Vivienne Westwood, to showcase our customer facing teams in a sharp and colourful way.

Craig Kreeger continued:

“Going forward, the impact from our Delta relationship which greatly enhances our revenue opportunities in the US, improving result from Little Red services and improvements in selling activity, supported by a strong focus on managing the cost base and on fuel efficiency gains, mean we are confident that we will deliver on our target and return to profitability.

“We are building a sustainable and profitable airline for the future and it is an exciting time for our company.”

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic is basing its financial recovery around the pictured Airbus A330-300 and the upcoming Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Airbus A330-343X G-VGBR (msn 1329) arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

 

Delta relocates key flights to Terminal 3 at London’s Heathrow Airport next to Virgin Atlantic

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) today mark another major step forward in their partnership as Delta relocates some of its key services to join Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow Terminal 3. The move comes as both airlines start flying their new and aligned summer schedules that offer customers more choice and flexibility while reducing onward transit times.

From today, Delta moves its arrival and departure terminal for several important business markets including its London to New York-JFK, London to Boston, and new London to Seattle services to Heathrow’s Terminal 3. The move enhances convenience and a seamless customer experience. For example, on the world’s most important business travel market between London Heathrow (Terminal 3) and New York JFK (Terminal 4) Delta and Virgin Atlantic will now operate from the same terminal and make it easier for customers to manage their travel plans including any last minute flight changes. The two airlines have also introduced a dedicated New York to London schedule with the customer in mind.

The new routes announced by Delta and Virgin Atlantic include Delta’s new West Coast service between Seattle and London Heathrow which commenced flying on March 30, 2014. And in co-operation with Virgin Atlantic, Delta will also operate a second daily service between London Heathrow and Detroit Metropolitan Airport effective June 2, 2014. The service will be particularly appealing to corporate customers needing an early morning arrival into London while offering more schedule choice for customers between London and the U.S. Midwest.

The two airlines’ summer schedule includes a total of 32 peak daily nonstop flights between North America and the U.K.. Of these, 25 flights will operate between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic also provide a competitive offering for the New York to London travel market. It is designed with business travelers in mind and offers a total of nine daily nonstop flights. The schedule includes departures every 30 minutes during the early evening peak and then hourly until 22:30 from New York-JFK to London Heathrow. From London Heathrow to New York-JFK there is a spread of seven daily flights including two late afternoon and early evening departures. These services will be complemented by two daily nonstop flights between New York’s Newark airport and London Heathrow.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-232 LR N703DN (msn 32222) of Delta holds in position for runway clearance at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Delta Air Lines (current): AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

 

Virgin Atlantic to cut back on the “Little Red” London Heathrow-Manchester service

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will cut one of four London Heathrow-Manchester “Little Red” Airbus A320 flights next year according to TheBusinessDesk.com. The airline explained the reduction was not due to decreased demand but rather having to give back one LHR slot to another unnamed carrier.

However The Independent reported last month the “Little Red” feeder flights were experiencing low sales.

Read the full report from The Independent: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Terry Wade/AirlinersGallery.com. The “Little Red” domestic flights are operated by Aer Lingus in full Virgin Atlantic colors. Airbus A320-214 EI-DEO (msn 2486) arrives at London (Heathrow).

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

Video: Virgin Atlantic ad:

Delta and Virgin Atlantic outline their schedule plans for the summer of 2014

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) today outlined details of a new joint venture flight schedule beginning summer 2014, aligning their services and offering more flight choices for travelers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The two airlines are putting the customer at the forefront of their partnership with the new schedule that starts March 30, 2014, combining their slots at London Heathrow to offer maximum customer convenience, particularly for business travelers.

Beginning, April 2, 2014, Delta will move its arrival and departure terminal for several important business markets to join Virgin Atlantic in Heathrow Terminal 3. This includes its London to New York-JFK, London to Boston, and new London to Seattle/Tacoma services and means the two airlines will co-locate on all its New York and Boston flights to London Heathrow. The move will allow for convenient connections and a seamless customer experience for customers flying with Virgin and Delta, including access to Virgin Atlantic’s award winning Clubhouse for all business class passengers.

Delta, in cooperation with Virgin Atlantic, will also operate a second daily service between London Heathrow and Detroit Metropolitan Airport effective June 1, 2014. The service will be particularly appealing to corporate customers needing an early morning arrival into London while offering more schedule choice for customers between London and the U.S. Midwest.

This additional flight will complement Delta’s previously announced new West Coast route between Seattle/Tacoma and London Heathrow, which will launch on March 29, 2014.

Virgin Atlantic is also making significant schedule changes. It is moving its VS1 Heathrow to Newark service from a late afternoon departure to a morning departure. This flight will be particularly attractive to business travelers: it will allow ‘same-day meetings’ to be held in the New Jersey area, while an earlier departure on the return flight means passengers can be in central London for the start of the working day.

This service is part of nine daily flights between London Heathrow and the New York area by the joint venture partners. The new schedule will include departures every 30 minutes during the early evening peak and then hourly until 10.30 p.m. from New York-JFK to London Heathrow and a spread of seven daily flights from London Heathrow to New York-JFK, including two late afternoon and early evening departures.  It also includes two conveniently timed departures to and from Newark.

Virgin Atlantic has also retimed its Heathrow to Boston service to depart two hours later in the afternoon. This offers more flexibility for the two airlines’ customers with Delta’s Heathrow to Boston service departing in the morning. Virgin Atlantic’s evening departure from Boston will also move two hours later, giving greater schedule choice to travelers.

In September, Delta and Virgin Atlantic welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve the carriers’ joint venture by granting antitrust immunity on routes between North America and the UK. This ruling confirmed the clear consumer benefits of the partnership, enabling the airlines to deepen their cooperation, offering more flight choices for travelers on both sides of the Atlantic and improving the travel options for business customers in the New York to London market.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Delta’s Airbus A330-223 N855NW (msn 621) arrives in Los Angeles.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Boeing 747-443 G-VROS (msn 30885) lands in Las Vegas.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic win DOT antitrust immunity for the trans-Atlantic joint venture

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve the carriers’ joint venture by granting antitrust immunity on routes between North America and the United Kingdom.

In their filing to the DOT, Delta and Virgin Atlantic noted that nearly 60 percent of the slots at London Heathrow Airport are controlled by British Airways and its joint venture partners. As a result, the carriers dominate air travel between the U.S. and the U.K, including the New York-London market, the most important business market in the world. By combining Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow slots and U.K. brand strength with Delta’s powerful U.S. network, the joint venture will offer significant competition in the market and benefit consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.

New schedule between New York-JFK and London Heathrow

With the customer at the forefront of their partnership, the airlines unveiled a new schedule for the competitive New York to London travel market designed with business travelers in mind and offering a total of nine daily nonstop flights. Effective March 30, 2014, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will operate a harmonized schedule between New York-JFK and London Heathrow featuring seven daily nonstop services at convenient time slots. The new schedule will include departures every 30 minutes during the early evening peak and then hourly until 22:30 from New York-JFK to London Heathrow and a spread of seven daily flights from London Heathrow to New York-JFK, including two late afternoon and early evening departures. These services will be complemented by two daily nonstop flights between Newark Liberty International Airport and London Heathrow.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic will operate the following New York-JFK-London Heathrow schedule beginning March 30, 2014:

New York (JFK) – London (LHR) London (LHR) – New York (JFK)
DepartAirport Depart Airport Arrival Depart

Airport

Depart Airport Arrival
JFK 07:40 LHR 19:40 LHR 09:05 JFK 11:50
JFK 18:30 LHR 06:50* LHR 10:15 JFK 13:15
JFK 19:00 LHR 07:20* LHR 11:30 JFK 14:25
JFK 19:30 LHR 08:00* LHR 14:00 JFK 16:40
JFK 20:30 LHR 08:45* LHR 16:15 JFK 19:05
JFK 21:30 LHR 09:25* LHR 17:35 JFK 20:30
JFK 22:30 LHR 10:40* LHR 20:05 JFK 23:00
*arrives the following day

The two airlines will work together to coordinate other schedule and network opportunities. Combined, the airlines will operate a total of 32 peak daily nonstop flights between North America and the U.K. of which 24 flights will operate between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington. Business customers will also benefit from a high-quality product: Delta and Virgin Atlantic’s business class uniquely includes forward-facing full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access on every flight. In addition, both airlines will offer a premium economy product on its trans-Atlantic services.

Customers are already seeing improved travel options from the partnership as they are benefiting from codesharing across 104 routes offering seamless connections to 63 destinations across North America and the UK. The partnership also means that members of frequent flyer SkyMiles and Flying Club loyalty programs have more opportunity to earn and use miles/points, while Premium customers have reciprocal access to Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounges. In addition, business class passengers receive priority check-in, boarding, baggage handling and additional baggage allowance on all Delta and Virgin Atlantic operated flights worldwide, including those outside of the codeshare agreement.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic will unveil further product enhancements later in the year, appealing to the business customer and improving the travel experience of customers across the trans-Atlantic.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-Northwest Airlines Airbus A330-323X N813NW (msn 799) of Delta approaches the Tokyo (Narita) hub for landing.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. Brand new Airbus A330-343X F-WWCG (msn 1341) became G-VWAG on delivery to Virgin Atlantic.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic receive tentative DOT antitrust immunity for trans-Atlantic alliance

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) have received tentative U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) (Washington) antitrust immunity for its proposed trans-Atlantic alliance. As part of the deal, Delta is acquiring a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic for $360 million from Singapore Airlines (Singapore).

All other parties will have 14 days to comment on the DOT decision, otherwise it will become final.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Delta’s Boeing 757-232 N650DL (msn 24390) banks on the final turn on the River Approach into Washington (Reagan National).

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Have you seen the “new look” AirlinersGallery.com?

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-313 G-VAIR (msn 164) climbs away from Tokyo (Narita) painted in the updated 2010 livery which also includes airline titles on the fuselage underside.

 

Delta Air Lines acquires a 49% share in Virgin Atlantic Airways

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) today detailed a codeshare agreement across 108 routes* and connections to 66 destinations across North America and the U.K.

Today’s codeshare announcement coincides with Delta acquiring a 49 percent stake in Sir Richard Branson’s airline – marking the next step towards a full joint venture between the two carriers. Virgin Atlantic will place its code on 91 Delta routes, including both trans-Atlantic and domestic U.S. routes. Delta will place its code on 17 Virgin Atlantic routes, including the recently launched Little Red domestic U.K. services connecting London to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The agreement includes the following customer benefits:

  • Virgin Atlantic customers will now enjoy a vast network of connecting North American destinations while Delta customers will gain an additional six daily frequencies between London to New York
  • SkyMiles and Flying Club loyalty programs that will offer up to 125% tier bonus miles* to frequent fliers on all Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights – not just those within the codeshare agreement
  • Reciprocal Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access at applicable airports for Upper Class and BusinessElite passengers and Flying Club Gold members and SkyMiles Platinum and Diamond members
  • Priority check-in, boarding, baggage handling and additional baggage allowance on all Virgin Atlantic and Delta operated flights worldwide – not just those within the codeshare agreement – forVirgin Atlantic Upper Class and Flying Club Gold members as well as Delta BusinessElite and SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond members

The two airlines announced their intention to enter into a joint venture agreement in December 2012. Last week unconditional merger clearance was granted by the European Commission and theU.S Department of Justice closed their review of the transaction. As of today, Delta has successfully completed its acquisition of a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic. The U.S Department of Transportation is currently reviewing the parties’ application for antitrust immunity relating to the proposed joint venture of the parties’ operations on nonstop routes between the US and the UK. This review is expected to be completed during third quarter of 2013, and the implementation of the Delta/Virgin Atlantic joint venture is anticipated to occur in the first quarter of 2014. Once implemented, this will deliver further significant additional consumer benefits and vibrant competition to the trans-Atlantic market.

Customers will be able to reap the rewards of the reciprocal codesharing beginning July 3, 2013 when travel across the routes begin.

As part of a $3 billion investment in enhanced global products, services and airport facilities, all of Delta’s flights between the U.S. and London-Heathrow feature fully flat-bed seats offering direct aisle access in the BusinessElite cabin. These flights also offer Delta’s popular Economy Comfort seating in the forward section of the economy cabin. Economy Comfort offers four additional inches of legroom and 50 per cent more recline compared to standard economy seats. All cabins offer in-seat audio and video on demand with a broad range of in-flight entertainment options. Delta also will begin introducing in-flight WiFi service on international flights beginning in 2014.

Virgin Atlantic completed a £150m upgrade program, including a new Upper Class cabin across its Airbus A330 aircraft in 2012 – with features including the longest fully flat bed in the sky and a redesigned on board bar. Brand new Clubhouses opened at both JFK and Newark airports in the past year and have received awards for innovation and design. The airline launched its domestic service; Virgin Atlantic Little Red in March 2013 and is now flying 26 daily frequencies to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen from Heathrow. Virgin Atlantic achieved record levels of on time performance in 2012 and is the number one airline in punctuality performance at Heathrow on the majority of its routes and out-performing its key competitor in 11 out of 12 months.

*Canadian and Jamaican flights subject to foreign government approval.

Virgin Atlantic codeshare on Delta operated flights:

LHR

London

to JFK New York, NY
BOS Boston, MA
ATL Atlanta, GA
DTW Detroit, MI
MSP Minneapolis, MN
MAN Manchester to ATL Atlanta, GA
JFK New York to ATL Atlanta, GA MKE Milwaukee, WI
AUS Austin, TX MSP Minneapolis, MN
BNA Nashville, TN MSY New Orleans, LA
BOS Boston, MA ORD Chicago, IL
BUF Buffalo, NY ORF Norfolk, VA
BWI Baltimore, MD PDX Portland, OR
CHS Charleston, SC PHL Philadelphia, PA
CLE Cleveland, OH PHX Phoenix, AZ
CLT Charlotte, NC PIT Pittsburgh, PA
CMH Columbus, OH RDU Raleigh Durham
CVG Cincinnati, OH RIC Richmond, VA
DCA Washington, DC ROC Rochester, NY
DEN Denver, CO RSW Fort Myers, FL
DFW Dallas/Fort Worth SAN San Diego, CA
DTW Detroit, MI SAT San Antonio, TX
FLL Fort Lauderdale SDF Louisville, KY
IAD Washington, DC SEA Seattle, WA
IND Indianapolis, IN SFO San Francisco, CA
JAX Jacksonville, FL SLC

Salt Lake City, UT

LAS Las Vegas, NV STL St Louis, MO
LAX Los Angeles, CA TPA Tampa, FL
MBJ Montego Bay YQB Quebec, Canada
MCI Kansas City, MO YUL Montreal, Canada
MCO Orlando, FL YVR Vancouver, Canada
MIA Miami, FL YYZ Toronto, Canada
BOS Boston to ATL Atlanta, GA MCO Orlando, FL
CMH Columbus, OH MEM Memphis, TN
CVG Cincinnati, OH MSP Minneapolis, MN
DTW Detroit, MI ORF Norfolk, VA
IND Indianapolis, IN RDU Raleigh Durham, NC
LGA La Guardia, NY SLC Salt Lake City, UT
LAX Los Angeles to HNL Honolulu, HI PHX Phoenix, AZ
KOA Kona, HI SAN San Diego, CA
LAS Las Vegas, NV SEA Seattle, WA
LIH Lihue, HI SFO San Francisco, CA
OAK Oakland, CA SLC Salt Lake City, UT
OGG Kahului, HI SMF Sacramento, CA
PDX Portland, OR
EWR Newark to ATL Atlanta, GA
DTW Detroit, MI
MSP Minneapolis, MN
IAD Washington to ATL Atlanta, GA
DTW Detroit, MI
MSP Minneapolis, MN
ORD Chicago MSP Minneapolis, MN
SLC Salt Lake City, UT
SFO San Francisco HNL Honolulu, HI
SLC Salt Lake City, UT

Delta codeshare on Virgin Atlantic operated flights:

LHR

London Heathrow

to BOS Boston, MA
EWR Newark, NJ
JFK New York, NY
IAD Washington, DC
LAX Los Angeles, CA
MIA Miami, FL
ORD Chicago, IL
SFO San Francisco, CA
YVR Vancouver, Canada
ABZ Aberdeen, UK
EDI Edinburgh, UK
MAN Manchester, UK
LGW London Gatwick to LAS Las Vegas, NV
MCO Orlando, FL
MAN Manchester to MCO Orlando, FL
LAS Las Vegas, NV
GLA Glasgow to MCO Orlando, FL

*Full details

Top Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-TWA/American Airlines Boeing 757-2Q8 WL N713TW (msn 28173) departs from New York (JFK).

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343X G-VKSS (msn 1201) lands at Las Vegas.

Norwegian and Virgin Atlantic pilots to cooperate on the Boeing 787 training and long-haul expertise, will expand in Germany

Norwegian.com 787-8 (02)(Nose) PAE (Norwegian)(LR)

Norwegian Long Haul (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Oslo) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Virgin Atlantic Airways (London). The agreement enables Norwegian to tap into Virgin Atlantic’s expertise on long-haul operations, while Virgin Atlantic’s instructors will receive pilot training on board Norwegian’s brand new 787-8 Dreamliner. Norwegian’s first Dreamliner is due for delivery at the end of June.

The cooperation with Virgin Atlantic will enable Norwegian’s long-haul pilots to make use of the airline’s vast long-haul experience. Virgin Atlantic will make all its training material available to Norwegian.

Virgin Atlantic’s pilots to train on board Norwegian’s 787 Dreamliner

At the same time, Virgin Atlantic’s 787 instructors will conduct the final part of their pilot training on board Norwegian’s Dreamliners. Virgin Atlantic’s most experienced instructors will continue flying on board Norwegian’s aircraft until the airline receives its first 787 Dreamliner in September 2014, just over a year after Norwegian’s first Dreamliner delivery.

“Introducing a new aircraft type to an airline is an extensive affair. It is therefore important that we learn from each other,” says Director of Flight Operations Norwegian Long Haul, Torstein Hoås.

A great advantage to both parties

“Virgin Atlantic is a successful long-haul airline with almost 30 years of Trans-Atlantic experience. It will be very beneficial for us to receive this support. At the same time, we are looking forward to helping Virgin Atlantic introduce the 787 Dreamliner to its fleet. The cooperation will be a great advantage to both parties,” he continues.

Virgin Atlantic will be the launch customer in Europe of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, a slightly bigger version of the 787-8 Dreamliner. In the agreement signed on Friday, Virgin Atlantic states that it will train a number of Norwegian pilots on board its future Dreamliners.

“Virgin Atlantic are delighted to announce our training partnership with Norwegian. Our combined experience is being effectively utilised to ensure the safe and efficient introduction of the Boeing 787 aircraft to our fleet. We have much in common with Norwegian, having similar high quality training requirements, which has allowed our partnership to take shape,” says Captain Dave Kistruck, GM of Flight Operations for Virgin Atlantic.

In other news, Norwegian is expanding in the Germany-Spain market. The company has issued this statement:

Norwegian Air Shuttle continues its European expansion. The company has announced that it will launch new routes from Hamburg, Cologne and Munich to several Spanish destinations this autumn.

“The expansion in the German market is part of our future strategy to expand our presence outside of the Nordic region in order to meet the strong competition in the airline industry. We see that Germans frequently choose Norwegian when flying to Scandinavia and we believe that there is a demand for a quality airline that offers inexpensive fares between Germany and Spain. We are looking forward to welcoming passengers on board our modern and more eco-friendly aircraft,” said CEO of Norwegian Bjørn Kjos.

From the end of October, Norwegian launches brand new routes between Germany and Spain and will fly to Malaga, Alicante, Gran Canaria and Tenerife from Hamburg and Cologne. From Munich, Norwegian will offer flights to Malaga, Alicante and Tenerife.

Strong expansion

Norwegian is Europe’s third largest low-fare airline. As one of the fastest growing airlines in Europe, it is establishing itself outside of the Nordic region by opening bases in the UK and Spain. At the end of the month, Norwegian will, as the first European low-fare airline, commence long-haul flights to the US and Asia.

From Hamburg

Hamburg-Malaga (November 1), 3 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Hamburg-Alicante (November 1), 3 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Hamburg-Gran Canaria (October 27), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way
Hamburg-Tenerife (October 27), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way

From Cologne

Cologne-Malaga (October 31), 3 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Cologne-Alicante (November 1), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Cologne-Gran Canaria (October 28), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way
Cologne-Tenerife (October 28), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way

From Munich

Munich-Malaga (November 1), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 39,- one way
Munich-Alicante (October 31), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 39,- one way
Munich-Tenerife (October 29), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 59,- one way

Copyright Photo: Norwegian Air Shuttle.

Norwegian: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic prepares to launch “Little Red” on Sunday

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is preparing to launch its new UK feeder service called “Little Red” on Sunday, March 31. The first route will be London (Heathrow)-Manchester. London (Heathrow)-Edinburgh will follow on April 5 and finally London (Heathrow)-Aberdeen will be launched on April 9. The new service will be operated with four Aer Lingus A320s now being painted in the Virgin Atlantic brand.

Virgin Atlantic Careers website: http://careersuk.virgin-atlantic.com/

Copyright Photo: Malcolm Nason. Aer Lingus’ A320-214 EI-DEO (msn 2486) “Queen of the Cobbles” poses for the camera at Shannon on March 28 after the repainting was finished.

Virgin Atlantic Little Red logo

Hot New Photos: AG Hot New Photos

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic freezes wages as it prepares to report a record yearly loss

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has frozen all salaries according to this report by Bloomberg. The struggling carrier is expected to report a loss of $201 million for its fiscal year ending on February 28 according to the Sunday Times.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. Looking almost new in its updated 2010 livery, Airbus A340-313X G-VELD (msn 214) climbs away from the runway at the London (Heathrow) hub. Higher fuel costs are hurting the carrier especially with its older less fuel-efficient aircraft like the Airbus A340-300. The last of the four A340-300s is expected to depart from the fleet this year.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

 

Virgin Atlantic introduces Virgin Atlantic Little Red

Virgin Atlantic Little Red ad

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has introduced its brand and name for its new inter-UK regional subsidiary. The airline issued this statement:

Virgin Atlantic Little Red is our new UK domestic service, offering great value, full service multiple daily flights between London Heathrow and Manchester, London Heathrow and Aberdeen and London Heathrow and Edinburgh.

Aberdeen flights begin on April 9, 2013
Edinburgh flights begin on April 5, 2013
Manchester flights begin on March 31, 2013

Virgin Atlantic is wet leasing four Airbus A320s for the new domestic services.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Little Red logo

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways to form a strategic alliance, Delta to buy 49% of Virgin Atlantic from Singapore Airlines

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. (London) have reached an agreement for a new joint venture that will create an expanded trans-Atlantic network and enhance competition between the U.K. and North America, offering greater benefits for customers traveling on those routes.

As part of this joint venture agreement, Delta will invest $360 million in Virgin Atlantic, acquiring a 49 percent stake currently held by Singapore Airlines. Virgin Group and Sir Richard Branson will retain the majority 51 percent stake and Virgin Atlantic Airways will retain its brand and operating certificate.

Highlights of the agreement include:

  • A fully integrated joint venture that will operate on a “metal neutral” basis with both airlines sharing the costs and revenues from all joint venture flights.
  • A combined trans-Atlantic network between the United Kingdom and North America with 31 peak-day round-trip flights.
  • Enhanced benefits for customers including cooperation on services between New York and London, with a combined total of nine daily round-trip flights from London-Heathrow to John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.
  • Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.
  • Shared access to Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse airport lounges for elite passengers.

The airlines will file an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation for antitrust immunity, which will allow a closer relationship and coordination on schedules and operations. The transaction also will be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Union’s competition regulator and other relevant authorities. The share purchase and the joint venture are expected to be implemented by the end of 2013.

“Our new partnership with Virgin Atlantic will strengthen both airlines and provide a more effective competitor between North America and the U.K., particularly on the New York-London route, which is the largest airline route between the U.S. and Europe,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “By combining the strengths of our two companies in a joint venture, we can provide customers with a seamless network between North America and the U.K., and continue building a better airline for our customers, employees and shareholders.”

Steve Ridgway, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive, added: “Consumers will reap the rewards of this partnership between two great airline brands on services from the UK to the USA, Canada and Mexico through a shared ethos in the highest standards of customer service. This joint venture will deliver much more effective competition at Heathrow.

“Both airlines are confident that the Department of Transportation will be as convinced as we are of the extensive consumer benefits arising from this joint venture, with expedited approval being granted by the end of 2013. The trans-Atlantic market is Virgin Atlantic’s heartland – it’s where we started. By aligning with Delta we can continue to grow our North American network and offer greatly enhanced connectivity across the USA.”

Virgin Atlantic President, Sir Richard Branson, commented: “This is an exciting day in Virgin Atlantic history. It signals the start of a new era of expansion, financial growth and many opportunities for our customers and our business. I truly look forward to the possibilities our partnership with Delta will offer. We have always been known for our innovation and service and have punched above our weight for 28 years. That is why our customers love us so much. We will retain that independent spirit but move forward in a strengthened partnership with Delta.”

Delta and Virgin Atlantic customers will be able to earn and redeem miles across Delta’s SkyMiles and Virgin Atlantic’s FlyingClub frequent flyer programs. Premium customers also will have reciprocal access to the Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse airport lounges. Full details will be announced as services become available.

The partnership allows both carriers to offer a greatly expanded network at Heathrow and to overcome slot constraints, which have limited the growth and competitive capability of both airlines. The two carriers will operate a total of 31 peak-day round-trip flights between the U.K. and North America, 23 of which operate at London-Heathrow. The enlarged network will benefit customers of both carriers by providing greater access to a broader network, improved connectivity and convenient booking options.

As part of a $3 billion investment in enhanced global products, services and airport facilities, all of Delta’s flights between the U.S. and London-Heathrow feature full flat-bed seats offering direct aisle access in the BusinessElite cabin. These flights also offer Delta’s popular Economy Comfort seating in the forward section of the economy cabin. Economy Comfort offers four additional inches of legroom and 50 percent more recline compared to standard economy seats. All cabins offer in-seat audio and video on demand with a broad range of in-flight entertainment options. Delta also will begin introducing in-flight WiFi service on international flights beginning in 2013.

Virgin Atlantic has recently completed a £150m upgrade program. A new Upper Class cabin has been introduced across its Airbus A330 aircraft, which features the longest fully flat bed in the sky. This is complemented by a redesigned onboard bar and new Clubhouses at both JFK and Newark airports. The airline’s Boeing 747 leisure fleet has been completely refitted and features onboard connectivity and VERA Touch – Virgin Atlantic’s award-winning touch screen in-flight entertainment system – offering passengers hours of entertainment at their fingertips.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Boeing 747-451 N668US (msn 24223) completes its final approach into Tokyo (Narita).

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. Airbus A340-642 G-VWEB (msn 787) arrives at the London (Heathrow) hub.

 

 

Delta and Virgin Atlantic are planning a trans-Atlantic joint venture

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) are planning a trans-Atlantic joint venture if Delta is successful in obtaining Singapore Airlines’ 49 percent share in Virgin Atlantic according to this report by Reuters. Sir Richard Branson is not interested in selling his controlling 51 percent but is interested in working with Delta.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A330-223 N861NW (msn 796) climbs away from Los Angeles International Airport.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Appropriately registered Airbus A330-343X G-VNYC (msn 1315) pushes back from gate at New York’s JFK International Airport.

Delta Air Lines is in talks to purchase Singapore Airlines’ 49% share of Virgin Atlantic Airways

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Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is reportedly in discussions with Singapore Airlines (Singapore) to acquire their 49 percent share in Virgin Atlantic Airways (London). If successful, Delta’s European partners, namely Air France-KLM, could then buy some of Sir Richard Branson’s shares to take control of the UK company according to this report by the Financial Times.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. If completed, it would be a bold move by SkyTeam to further increase its presence at slot-controlled Heathrow Airport in London against the Oneworld alliance. Boeing 737-832 N3755D (msn 29627) climbs away from Los Angeles International Airport.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Is the Virgin Atlantic brand in danger of becoming history? Boeing 747-41R G-VROC (msn 32746) arrives at New York (JFK) in the updated 2010 motif.

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Virgin Atlantic wins all of the Heathrow slots, will launch new routes to Scotland

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has been awarded all of the London Heathrow slots vacated by British Airways (London) due to the BMI takeover according to this report by Reuters. Virgin Atlantic intends to introduce new intra-UK routes to Scotland to compete against BA.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Smaller Airbus narrow bodies are expected to join the Virgin fleet for these new routes. Airbus A330-343X G-VRAY (msn 1296) prepares to arrive at Washington (Dulles).

Virgin Atlantic Airways: 

Virgin Atlantic to offer Manchester-London Heathrow service with Airbus A319s starting on March 31

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd (London) has announced plans to fly from London Heathrow to Manchester Airport from March 2013 – providing competition to British Airways’ short haul service. The new route is the airline’s first foray into domestic flying; signaling the start of a new network which will provide regional feed to its long haul service as well as providing choice for important point to point passengers.

Sir Richard Branson’s airline is going to apply for all of the remedy slots being awarded by the European Commission following the IAG takeover of bmi, but is using some of its existing slots to service the Manchester to London route. The airline believes competition on this route has been neglected in the remedy process and aims to provide choice for the 650,000 passengers* who travel between the two cities.

The airline will operate three daily flights to Manchester using Airbus A319 aircraft from March 31, 2013.

The A319 will be a new type for Virgin Atlantic.

Copyright Photo: Nik French.

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: 

 

Virgin Atlantic swings into the red with a $124.5 million yearly operating loss

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) reported a pre-tax operating loss of $124.5 million for its fiscal year.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

In other news, the company has moved forward the start of the new London (Heathrow)-Washington (Dulles) to October 28, 2012.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A340-642 G-VSSH (msn 615) completes its final approach into Los Angeles International Airport.

Virgin Atlantic: 

Aer Lingus wants to fly domestic routes in the United Kingdom

Aer Lingus (Dublin) is planning to launch a domestic route in the United Kingdom between London (Heathrow) and Edinburgh according to the Irish Independent. The route is up for grabs after British Airways (London) took over bmi (East Midlands) and was forced to give up the appropriate LHR slots as ordered by the European Commission. Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has also expressed an interest in serving the UK domestic route. The projected expansion comes after Ryanair (Dublin), which owns 29.8 percent of the Aer Lingus stock, launched its hostile bid to take control of the Irish carrier.

Read the full report from the Irish Independent: CLICK HERE

In other news, Aer Lingus today announced its schedule for winter 2012 along with the addition of six new routes and increased frequencies.

Dublin to Verona and Stockholm and Cork to Brussels are set to continue right throughout the winter, owing to their continued popularity. Other exciting destinations on offer include Copenhagen, Bordeaux and Venice.

Frequencies will be increased on a further eight popular routes such as Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam. There will also be extra flights to Lanzarote and Tenerife which will be music to the ears of those seeking out a winter sunshine holiday in the Canary Islands.

Copyright Photo: Sebastian Fernandez.

Aer Lingus: 

Virgin Atlantic to sell its 10% share in AirAsia X

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is expected to sell its 10 percent share of AirAsia X (Kuala Lumpur) to existing stockholders for $21 million.

Read the full report from Asia One: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

Virgin Atlantic: 

AirAsia X: 

Bottom Copyright Photo: Pepscl.

Virgin Atlantic arrives in Vancouver with its usual flair

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) yesterday (May 24) started its new route from London (Heathrow) to Vancouver. The new route will be operated four days a week with Airbus A340-300s.

Read the about the event in The Vancouver Sun: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best.

 

Virgin Atlantic to drop the Nairobi-London Heathrow route on September 24

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has elected to drop the Nairobi-London (Heathrow) route due to declining demand and rising fuel costs. The last flight on the Nairobi-Heathrow route will operate on September 24. The carrier added the route five years ago.

Read the full report from the Daily Mail: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton.

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic to allow passengers to use their devices for Internet access on the London-New York route

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will permit its passengers to send and receive text messages, e-mails and Internet access on its Airbus A330-300s on the London-New York route according to this report by Reuters.

This new in-flight service is “targeting business travelers and will be available in all cabins, although limited to six users at a time” per Reuters.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Fred Seggie

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic to appeal the IAG takeover of bmi, passengers evacuate an A330 at Gatwick

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is planning to appeal to the European Commission the recent decision to permit the IAG to acquire the assets of bmi (East Midlands). Virgin Atlantic also intends to apply for the 12 slot pairs at Heathrow Airport should the appeal fail.

Read the full report from Business Traveller: CLICK HERE

In other news, flight VS 27 from London (Gatwick) to Orlando yesterday (April 16) returned to LGW after a fire was reported, although the airline later disputed this report. The 229 passengers and 13 crew members exited the Airbus A330-300 via the emergency chutes. Four passengers received minor injuries. The incident closed the airport for other traffic for 90 minutes.

Read the full report from The Star: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero.

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic launches twice-weekly Manchester-Las Vegas flights, will fight for 12 slot pairs at Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) on April 3 launched twice-weekly Manchester-Las Vegas flights with Boeing 747-400s. The route will be Virgin Atlantic’s 33rd from the UK and the carrier’s third from Manchester.

In other news, Virgin Atlantic is going to fight hard to secure the 12 slot pairs at London (Heathrow) that are being surrendered as a result of the IAG’s acquisition of BMI.

Read the full story from Travel News: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero.

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

The BMI takeover is approved by the European Commission with conditions

British Airways (London) and the IAG have won their fight against Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) for the acquisition of BMI (East Midlands) and the valuable slots at London’s Heathrow Airport. The takeover of BMI from Lufthansa (Frankfurt) has been approved by the European Commission with conditions – British Airways will have to give up 14 slot pairs at London (Heathrow). However this is somewhat mute of an issue since BA will gain an additional 42 slot pairs with the BMI acquisition. Bottom line: Virgin Atlantic loses this battle with BA and the BMI brand will quickly be replaced with the BA livery. BA/IAG is expected to close on the deal around April 20. Goodbye BMI. LHR will certainly become a BA fortress hub.

Subsidiary bmibaby will not be part of this deal.

Read the full story from The Guardian: CLICK HERE

The BBC asks the question of whether BA/IAG gave up enough for BMI: CLICK HERE

BMI Slide Show: CLICK HERE

British Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic adopts a “block IAG takeover and replace BMI” strategy

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is calling on the European Commission to block the IAG takeover of BMI (East Midlands). The company is also vowing to replace the critical UK-Heathrow feeder services provided by BMI with its own UK regional carrier.

Is Virgin Atlantic the undisclosed bidder for BMI Regional?

Read the full article from Travel Weekly: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Wingnut.

Virgin Atlantic Photo Gallery: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic makes a new bid for BMI

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) today (December 12) confirmed Virgin Atlantic Airways has made a new bid for BMI (British Midland International) according to this report by the New York Times. The new bid now raises the stakes with the IAG for the valuable takeoff and landing slots at London’s Heathrow Airport.

The move comes a month after the International Airlines Group (British Airways and Iberia) announced that it had reached a preliminary agreement with Lufthansa to acquire BMI.

Stay tuned. This deal is not done yet.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton.

BMI Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic Airways is coming to Vancouver

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is coming to Vancouver in 2012. The airline will operate summer seasonal service (four times weekly) with Airbus A340-300s between May 24, 2012 and October 25, 2012.

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton.

Virgin Atlantic is interested in merging with BMI, will develop the world’s first low carbon aviation fuel

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is strongly pursuing a buy-out of rival BMI (East Midlands) from Lufthansa and combining the two carriers according to this report by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced the development of a world-first low carbon aviation fuel with just half the carbon footprint of the standard fossil fuel alternative.

The ground breaking partnership with LanzaTech represents a breakthrough in aviation fuel technology that will see waste gases from industrial steel production being captured, fermented and chemically converted using Swedish Biofuels technology for use as a jet fuel. The revolutionary fuel production process recycles waste gases that would otherwise be burnt into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Within two to three years Virgin Atlantic will plan flights with the new fuel on its routes from Shanghai and Delhi to London Heathrow as LanzaTech and partners develop facilities in China and India. The technology is currently being piloted in New Zealand, a larger demonstration facility will be commissioned in Shanghai this year, and the first commercial operation will be in place in China by 2014. Following successful implementation, a wider roll-out could include operations in the UK and the rest of the world.

LanzaTech estimates that its process can apply to 65 % of the world’s steel mills, allowing the fuel to be rolled out for worldwide commercial use. The energy company believes that this process can also apply to metals processing and chemical industries, growing its potential considerably further.

Virgin Atlantic will be the first airline to use this fuel and will work with LanzaTech, Boeing and Swedish Biofuels towards achieving the technical approval required for using new fuel types in commercial aircraft. A “demo” flight with the new fuel is planned in 12-18 months.

This next generation technology overcomes the complex land use issues associated with some earlier generation biofuels – and detailed analysis suggests the fuel will produce around a 50% saving in lifecycle carbon emissions. The Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels (RSB), the leading international body to ensure the sustainability of biofuels production, will advise the team to ensure the fuel produced meets key environmental, social and economic criteria.

Virgin Atlantic believes that this development will take the airline well beyond its pledge of a 30% carbon reduction per passenger km by 2020. The investment in renewable fuels is part of our wider program to reduce carbon through measures such as using new, more fuel-efficient aircraft and supporting a global carbon cap and trade scheme, through our involvement in Aviation Global Deal group.

Copyright Photo: Nik French.

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic continues to express its interest in acquiring BMI from Lufthansa

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is keen on acquiring BMI (East Midlands) and its valuable Heathrow Airport slots.

Lufthansa is still studying whether to sell BMI or attempt to turnaround the loss-making UK carrier.

Read the full report from Bloomberg: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Wingnut. Please click on the photo for additional information.

Virgin Atlantic returns to profitability, will invest in cabin improvements

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has announced a $162.9 million (100m pounds) investment in product development as it reported a strong year of trading and a return to profit. Despite the winter closure of London Heathrow and the Ash Cloud crisis costing the business a combined $65.2 million (40m pounds), strong growth in business traffic and solid load factors across all cabins delivered a good recovery.

On the airline’s routes between the US and the UK, which include five daily flights from New York to Heathrow, summer flights from Orlando to three UK airports, and service from eight other destinations, there was a very strong 21 percent growth in revenue.

The company reported a pre-tax operating profit of $30.1 million (18.5m pounds) for its fiscal year.

It is unclear how the current UK riots will affect future revenues and profits.

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for additional information.

Virgin Atlantic Airways and its pilots avert a strike with a tentative deal

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has avoided its first strike with its pilots by securing a tentative agreement with the pilots, subject to ratification by the members.

Read the full story from the WSJ: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Nik French. Please click on the photo for the story of this new livery.

Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Sir Richard Branson pleads with the pilots to call off their proposed strike

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is facing possible industrial action by its pilots, the first strike in Virgin’s history if it goes ahead. Sir Richard Branson has pleaded with the 750 pilots to call off the strike action that is set to cause mass chaos. Branson has sent a letter to the pilots calling for the pilots to call off their industrial action and to reconsider the pay structure that the airline has offered them according to this article by IBTraveler.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for information on this special color scheme.

Virgin Atlantic Airways to launch a new route to Cancun

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) announced today the launch of the airline’s 33rd destination with the introduction of flights between London and Cancun, Mexico. The twice weekly service will debut on June 12, 2012 and the carrier expects to carry up to 94,000 Virgin Atlantic customers traveling between London and Cancun in the first year.

The twice weekly service will be operated by a Boeing 747-400 with three-classes of service that will feature 14 Upper Class Suites, 58 Premium Economy seats and 379 Economy seats.

This addition to Virgin Atlantic’s leisure program follows its recent launch of Manchester to Las Vegas flights and the recent introduction of its Airbus A330 aircraft on its Orlando route.

Virgin Atlantic currently flies to 33 destinations worldwide. The airline carried six million passengers in 2010 and has 39 long haul aircraft in its fleet.

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Wingnut. Please click on the photo for information on the updated livery.

Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson seeks a partner to compete with British Airways.

Virgin Atlantic Airways’ (London) majority shareholder Sir Richard Branson is seeking a partner to help his company compete against British Airways.

The flag carrier is owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group (51%) and Singapore Airlines (49%). Branson said he intends to remain a “major shareholder” in the company. Branson is considering the sale of his 51% stake after he hired Deutsche Bank AG to assess his options according to this article by Bloomberg.

Virgin Atlantic has been a rival of British Airways since inception, as previously British Airways had been the only airline from Britain serving long haul routes to destinations such as North America, the Caribbean and the Far East.

Read the full story by Bloomberg: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for more information.

Virgin Atlantic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Atlantic Airways puts its first Airbus A330-300 into revenue service

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) yesterday (April 5) placed its first new Airbus A330-300 into revenue service on the Manchester-Orlando route.

Copyright Photo: Terry Wade. Please click on the photo for the full story.

Hot New Photos Slide Show: CLICK HERE

JetBlue Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways team up for trans-Atlantic connections

JetBlue Airways (New York) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) have announced the launch of a new trans-Atlantic interline partnership that links the networks of the two airlines.

Effective March 22, travellers can now connect from London, Glasgow and Manchester on Virgin Atlantic onward to JetBlue’s domestic flights.

The airlines will interline in the following Virgin Atlantic-operated transatlantic markets that depart from JetBlue’s Boston, New York, Washington and Orlando focus cities:

Boston – London (Heathrow)
New York (Kennedy) – London (Heathrow)
Orlando – Glasgow
Orlando – London (Gatwick)
Orlando – Manchester
Washington (Dulles) – London (Heathrow)

JetBlue Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Please click on the photo fro the aircraft details.

Virgin Atlantic Airways is being coaxed to join the SkyTeam alliance

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is attracting new interest from Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines as a possible new member of the SkyTeam alliance. Virgin has remained independent but the new British Airways-Iberia-American Airlines alliance has forced it to look at other options.

Read the full article by the Associated Press:

CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. Please click on the photo for aircraft information.

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