Tag Archives: Virgin Atlantic Airways

Delta and Virgin Atlantic expand their trans-Atlantic joint venture schedule this weekend

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) are celebrating a significant expansion of their trans-Atlantic partnership with the introduction of six new daily services.

The two airlines begin their summer schedule this weekend and will offer up to 39 return trans-Atlantic flights a day between the U.K. and 15 destinations across North America. The joint schedule now includes 10 daily flights between New York and London Heathrow, with eight daily departures from New York-JFK and two departures from Newark. Customers travelling between JFK and London Heathrow will benefit from a memory schedule* of regular evening departures from New York.

Virgin Atlantic is launching a second daily service between Los Angeles and Heathrow, complemented by significant investment on the ground with the first-ever Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Los Angeles due to open next month. Combined with the Delta service launched in October 2014, the partnership will offer three daily flights from Los Angeles to London and expects to carry close to 400,000 annual passengers on the route.

Also launching this weekend is a seasonal second-daily Virgin Atlantic service between Atlanta and London Heathrow and a second service between San Francisco and London Heathrow that will operate five days a week over the summer.

The two airlines are maximizing the benefits of their joint-venture partnership and increasing passenger choice by aligning schedules to best meet customer demand. This will see a transfer of operations that begins this weekend with Delta flying one of the Newark-to-London Heathrow services previously operated by Virgin Atlantic. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic will take over Delta’s Atlanta-to-Manchester service.

Further joint-venture services will be introduced later in the summer. These include:

A new daily Delta service between Philadelphia and London Heathrow starting April 26
A new daily Delta service between New York-JFK and Manchester starting May 21
A new daily Virgin Atlantic service between London Heathrow and Detroit starting June 1

Virgin Atlantic is also offering a series of special seasonal services this year from Orlando to Belfast, Northern Ireland (June and July), and Las Vegas to Glasgow, Scotland (September and October).

Virgin Atlantic is resuming flights from London Gatwick to the Caribbean island of Tobago on Sunday and will be offering a weekly service during the summer and a twice-weekly service in the winter.

This summer, Delta flights between London Heathrow and Boston, Los Angeles and New York will operate from Heathrow’s Terminal 3 alongside all Virgin Atlantic services. Delta flights between Heathrow and Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis-St Paul, Philadelphia and Seattle/Tacoma will operate from Terminal 4. Delta One and Upper Class passengers departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3 will be able to enjoy a seamless transfer from car to lounge via the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing. Business class passengers travelling from Heathrow Terminal 4 will enjoy complimentary access to the SkyTeam lounge.

Since the start of the joint venture, more than five million people have travelled on its services with 10,000 people per month connecting between the two airlines last year. The new schedule offers connecting itineraries to 215 destinations.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-323 N813NW (msn 799) taxies at Amsterdam.

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

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Virgin Atlantic to introduce the Boeing 787 on the Hong Kong route

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) on July 15 will assign the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the London (Heathrow) – Hong Kong route. The new aircraft will operate daily with the 787-9s replacing the current Airbus A340-600s per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-VAHH (msn 37967) “Dream Girl” rests between flights at the LHR base.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Virgin Atlantic returns to the black for 2014

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has returned to the black. The group reported a £14.4 million ($21.4 million) profit (pre tax and exceptional items) for the year of 2014. This represents a £65.4 million ($97.3 million) improvement from the £51 million ($75.9 million) pre-tax loss for the year of 2013.

The airline issued this statement:

For the year ended December 31, 2014, the Group is reporting a profit before tax and exceptional items of £14.4 million, representing an improvement of £65.4 million on the previous year’s financial performance.

The results confirm that Virgin Atlantic has delivered on the target it set in February 2013 to return to profit within two years. It is now looking to the future and positioning the business for future growth and sustained profitability whilst making significant investment in customer experience.

Calendar year ending December 2014 Group Performance at a glance:

A Group pre-tax, pre-exceptional items, profit over 12 months of £14.4 m, an improvement of £65.4 m on the year ending December 2013 (£51.0 m pre-tax loss)
Group revenue of £2.9 billion
Airline unit revenue up 0.5% (up 3.5% at constant currency)
6,156,000 passengers flown
Average revenue passenger load factors of 77.38%
Airline unit operating costs flat year-on-year at constant currency
Virgin Holidays recorded a profit for the year before tax and exceptional items of £5.7m, up £3m year on year, and increased revenue by 1.1%
Cargo revenue down 1.8% year on year (up 3.1% at constant currency) with strong export demand from the UK

For the third consecutive year, passenger satisfaction scores have increased, with an 11% improvement since 2012. The airline’s on time performance remains high with 85.5% of flights departing within 15 minutes of schedule. Virgin Atlantic remains focused on delivering the best possible experience and service to its customers enhanced by a £300m investment in this area by 2018.

Chief Executive Craig Kreeger said:

“We want to be the airline most loved by our customers by always putting them at the centre of everything we do. These profitable results mark the successful conclusion of our recovery period and have put firm foundations in place for the future. We are confident that we have the right fleet, network and partners in place to be more profitable than ever before by 2018.

“We had a clearly defined strategy to transform the financial performance of the business and everyone involved can be rightly proud that we delivered that in a rigorous timeframe, while investing in continuous improvements to our passengers’ experience. I would like to thank our customers for their support, and our people for delivering the exceptional customer service that remains uniquely Virgin Atlantic.”

Strategic changes in the business along with operational and cost efficiencies have driven the improved financial performance this year. In October, the airline took delivery of the first of its state of the art, fuel-efficient Boeing 787-9s (above), with seven more to follow in 2015 as part of a fleet regeneration programme.

Virgin Atlantic and its customers gained significant benefit from its joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines, launched in January 2014. Over 4.5million passengers flew on joint venture services in its first year of operation and the two airlines expect this number to continue to grow in 2015. The partnership’s total number of code share routes recently increased to 484 and its peak daily transatlantic services will rise to 39 from summer 2015. This includes ten daily departures between London and New York – the world’s busiest business travel market.

The increased transatlantic flying follows a network review undertaken by Virgin Atlantic in 2014 which led to its exit from several loss-making routes. The airline also took the decision to withdraw its domestic operation Little Red, with flights between Heathrow and Manchester ceasing later this month and Heathrow and Edinburgh and Aberdeen stopping in September 2015. New routes will be launched this summer between Manchester and Atlanta, London Heathrow and Detroit, and London Gatwick and Tobago, as well as a series of seasonal flights between Belfast and Orlando and Glasgow and Las Vegas. There will also be increased frequency in services between Heathrow and major US destinations including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York.

Virgin Holidays’ revenue and profit improvements were driven by a strong performance in its key North American market, where turnover grew by more than 10%, and disciplined cost control across the business. The company also enjoyed a four-point increase in its Net Promoter Score. During 2014, it implemented a new five-year plan to drive customer satisfaction, staff engagement and profitability to record levels by 2019.

Virgin Atlantic President, Sir Richard Branson, said:

“I can’t think of a better way to complete our 30th birthday year than with a return to profit. The team at Virgin Atlantic has done a great job in turning around the airline and has the right strategy to take the business from strength to strength. Keeping our customers and our people at the heart of everything we do gives me great confidence in our future and I look forward to the next 30 years.”

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-VNEW (msn 40956) “Birthday Girl” climbs away from London (Heathrow).

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Virgin Atlantic to offer a second daily flight to San Francisco, will use Sony devices

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has announced a second daily London (Heathrow) – San Francisco flight starting on October 25.

Flights VS 41 LHR-SFO and VS 42 SFO-LHR will operate with the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

In other news, the airline has announced a trial with Sony Mobile Communications to test how new wearable technology can help improve the airline’s maintenance and engineering processes. The airline issued this statement:

Sony SmartWatch 3

Engineers working on Virgin Atlantic aircraft at the airport and in the hangar will be testing the use of Sony’s SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1, tablet, mobile phone and SmartWatch 3 (above) in an eight-week trial, starting next week. The trial will take place at London Heathrow and will test how the technology can be used for real time communication between the engineering team on the aircraft and in the engineering support areas.

Using Sony’s SmartWear alongside a smart phone or tablet will remove paper from some engineering processes and reduce the journey times between an aircraft and technical control. This will enable the engineers and technicians to remain on the aircraft during turnarounds – helping to save valuable time, as well as make a significant contribution to Virgin Atlantic’s targets to reduce paper waste.

Phil Maher, Director of Operations at Virgin Atlantic, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Sony to trial wearable technology within our engineering team.

During the trial, engineers will be able to receive notifications on their SmartWatch 3 devices about any changes to job allocations, or detail in the tasks. Managers will be able to get instant feedback that the engineer has read the notification and that the task is in hand.

Engineers will be able to use SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 to take pictures or video of the tasks they are working on. This will be linked to an app running on a smartphone which will allow the engineers to efficiently complete and submit a form requesting further technical assistance. SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 will also be used for real-time video streaming to allow office-based engineering staff to see a problem from the engineers’ point of view in order to provide more rapid technical assistance.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-VNEW (msn 40956) “Birthday Girl” gracefully climbs away from the London (Heathrow) base.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Virgin Atlantic moves up the retirement date for the last Airbus A340-300 flight

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has moved up the planned date for the final revenue flight of the Airbus A340-300 according to Airline Route. The last flight is tentatively scheduled as flight VS 251 from Shanghai (Pudong) to London (Heathrow) on March 29.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-313 G-VELD (msn 214) departs from London (Heathrow).

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Virgin Atlantic Airways to retire the last Airbus A340-300 on October 24, 2015

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is currently scheduling the last Airbus A340-300 revenue flight on October 24, 2015 subject to change. The last route for the type is currently planned to be from Johannesburg to London (Heathrow) per Airline Route. The A340 is currently also operated to Boston (ending on May 14, 2015) and New York (JFK).

In other news, Virgin Atlantic will now introduce the new Boeing 787-9 on the daily London (Heathrow) – Shanghai (Pudong) route on June 15, 2015 (moved up from October 25 per Airline Route).

Copyright Photo: Airbus A340-313 G-VELD (msn 214) departs from London (Heathrow).

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show