Category Archives: Virgin Atlantic Airways

Virgin Atlantic last night operated a LanzaTech sustainable fuel flight

Virgin Atlantic Airways last night operated a LanzaTech sustainable fuel flight (VS16) from Orlando to London (Gatwick). The airline made this announcement on social media:

We’ve landed! The first commercial flight using LanzaTech sustainable jet fuel was our VS16 from Orlando to London Gatwick, operated by a Boeing 747 aircraft.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and LanzaTech issued this statement:

Carbon-rich pollution converted to a jet fuel will power a commercial flight for the first time today.  The Virgin Atlantic Airlines’ flight from Orlando to London using a Boeing 747 will usher in a new era for low-carbon aviation that has been years in the making.  Through a combination of chemistry, biotechnology, engineering and catalysis, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and its industrial partner LanzaTech have shown the world that carbon can be recycled and used for commercial flight.

LanzaTech, a Chicago-based company, developed a unique carbon recycling technology that operates similarly to traditional fermentation but instead of using sugars and yeast to make alcohol, waste carbon-rich gases, such as those found at industrial manufacturing sites, are converted by bacteria to fuels and chemicals, such as ethanol. The ethanol can be used for a range of low carbon products, including alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) which is now eligible to be used in commercial flights at up to 50 percent blends with conventional jet fuel.

LanzaTech turned to the catalytic expertise of PNNL, a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory, which developed a unique catalytic process and proprietary catalyst to upgrade the ethanol to (ATJ-SPK).  The catalyst removes oxygen from the ethanol in the form of water, and then combines the remaining hydrocarbon molecules to form chains large enough for jet fuel without forming aromatics that lead to soot when burned.

LanzaTech then scaled up the technology. The ethanol was converted to 4000 gallons of ATJ-SPK at LanzaTech’s Freedom Pines facility in Georgia and met all the specifications required for use in commercial aviation. In April 2018, an international standards body approved the ethanol-to-jet fuel pathway for aviation turbine fuel at up to a 50 percent blend ratio with standard, petroleum-based jet fuel based on LanzaTech’s Research Report.

DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office has been instrumental in supporting the technology development. With co-funding from BETO, LanzaTech is now preparing a design and engineering package for an ATJ production facility implementing the LanzaTech-PNNL ethanol based ATJ-SPK pathway. LanzaTech’s Freedom Pines site is the location of a planned facility which would be able to convert sustainable ethanol to millions of gallons per year of low carbon jet and diesel fuels.

“This fuel exceeds the properties of petroleum-based jet fuel in terms of efficiency and burns much cleaner,” said John Holladay, PNNL’s deputy manager for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “And by recycling carbon already in the environment — in this case waste gas streams — it lets the world keep more petroleum sequestered the ground. The technology not only provides a viable source of sustainable jet fuel but also reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere.”

“Thanks to collaborative efforts of our friends, partners and governments across both sides of the Atlantic, we are showing the world that carbon capture and utilization is ready today,” said Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech chief executive officer. “Many people thought recycling waste carbon emissions into jet fuel wasn’t possible. We have shown that waste carbon is an opportunity not a liability and that carbon can be reused to provide sustainable benefits for all. Together we can create the carbon future we need.”

Photos: Virgin Atlantic and PNNL.

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easyJet and Virgin Atlantic become partners

easyJet has today made this announcement:

easyJet, Europe’s leading airline, has today announced that it has signed up Virgin Atlantic as a new airline partner to its unique connections service  ‘Worldwide by easyJet’

This means that from today easyJet customers can seamlessly connect through London Gatwick Airport between easyJet and Virgin Atlantic flights. This opens up new destination options via ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ which could see customers connecting from the likes of Barcelona through to Orlando and Edinburgh to Las Vegas.  Other Virgin Atlantic destinations now available also include Las Vegas, Antigua and St Lucia.

Worldwide by easyJet has been consistently growing, with more than 4,000 unique O&Ds which have been booked in combination with partner airlines.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet Chief Executive Officer said:

“We are really pleased to welcome Virgin Atlantic to ‘Worldwide by easyJet’. Given we both serve many popular destinations from London Gatwick, we are confident their addition to Worldwide will be very popular with our customers.

“We have been delighted with the appetite of partner airports and airlines to expand Worldwide across our network and continue to broaden our focus to launch more airline partners and add connectivity to more of our biggest airports. Tens of millions of connecting passengers travel each year with journeys which begin or end in Europe.

“Because of easyJet’s reputation for great customer service and our strong positions at Europe’s leading airports, a large number of different airlines as well as airports have been asking to work with easyJet for some time and we expect to announce more partners in the coming months.”

Craig Kreeger, CEO at Virgin Atlantic commented;

“Virgin Atlantic is committed to working with the best possible global partners, to offer industry leading choice and connections for our customers.  easyJet’s unbeatable Gatwick network, combined with a shared customer centric ethos, makes them the ideal fit for us.   We’re delighted that customers across the UK and Europe will be able to enjoy more choice when connecting onto our flights through Gatwick and we look forward to welcoming them on board very soon.”

This addition compliments easyJet’s existing relationships with Norwegian, WestJet, Thomas Cook Airlines, Corsair, La Compagnie, Aurigny and Loganair who are already part of ‘Worldwide by easyJet’.

Earlier this month easyJet announced that Singapore Airlines and its low cost subsidiary airline Scoot will join the ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ global connections service, connecting easyJet customers with South East Asia with Singapore Airlines via Milan Malpensa airport and with Scoot through Berlin Tegel. The service is expected to be available within the coming months.

easyJet will continue sign up other airlines to ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ during 2018, with talks progressing with middle and far-eastern carriers amongst others and the airline also plans to expand to other key easyJet airports in Europe.

Worldwide by easyJet explained

‘Worldwide by easyJet’ launched in September 2017 enabling customers to connect easyJet flights through London Gatwick to long haul flights, with launch airline partners WestJet and Norwegian.  This quickly expanded to Thomas Cook Airlines, Corsair, La Compagnie and Loganair and the connections platform was extended to Milan Malpensa airport in December 2017.

In March 2018 easyJet announced that it was extending its ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ connections platform to Berlin Tegel, Venice Marco Polo, Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Orly and Edinburgh airports. Venice and Berlin Tegel are now fully operational meaning that, combined with the connections already announced through London Gatwick and Milan Malpensa, over half of the airline’s flights – and 53 million easyJet customers a year – will be able to connect to airline partner services and other easyJet flights in a single booking through easyJet’s digital booking portal.

It is the first global airline connections service by a European low fares airline. Worldwide by easyJet offers self-connect and sales partnerships through a digital, virtual hub simply and efficiently.

easyJet has leadership positions at more of Europe’s major airports and flies on more of Europe’s 100 largest routes than any other airline which makes it the most attractive European short haul airline partner. The introduction of this disruptive product opens up new 70m market segment for easyJet.

All of this connectivity has been enabled by technology partner Dohop whose innovative platform allows easyJet customers to book connections and forward flights on easyJet.com.  Worldwide by easyJet will also allow easyJet passengers to connect with other easyJet flights through partner airports.

Worldwide by easyJet does not impact easyJet’s punctuality, its asset utilisation or operating model. The airline will not hold flights for connecting passengers. Worldwide by easyJet is subject to a 2 hour 30 minute ‘Minimum Connection Time’, which will give customers plenty of time to transfer between flights and/or terminals. Should a passenger miss a connecting flight they will be transferred to the next available flight.

Photo: easyJet.

Virgin Atlantic to cease flying between Dubai and London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A330-343 G-VINE (msn 1231) LHR (SPA). Image: 942568.

Virgin Atlantic Airways has announced that it will withdraw flights between Dubai and London Heathrow from March 31, 2019.

After conducting a thorough review of its network, the airline has made the difficult decision to stop flying between Dubai and London due to a combination of external factors which mean it is no longer economically viable.

Shai Weiss, Chief Commercial Officer for Virgin Atlantic, said: “It‘s never an easy decision to withdraw a route, and we’d like to thank our customers and dedicated team in Dubai for their loyalty over the last 12 years. We’ll continue to offer daily flights between Dubai and London Heathrow until March 31, 2019, and will be sad to say goodbye to this fantastic city.”

Copyright Photo: Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A330-343 G-VINE (msn 1231) LHR (SPA). Image: 942568.

Route Map:

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show:

Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic sign definitive agreements to strengthen trans-Atlantic partnership

Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-VNEW (msn 40956) "Birthday Girl"  LHR (SPA). Image: 941875.

Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Limited on May 15, 2018 signed definitive agreements paving the way forward for their expanded trans-Atlantic joint venture:

  • The Joint Venture Agreement signed between Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic sets out the governance as well as the commercial and operational terms of the expanded trans-Atlantic Joint Venture.
  • Upon completion, Air France-KLM will acquire a 31 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic currently held by Virgin Group for £220 million.
  • Virgin Group will retain a 20 percent stake and Chairmanship of Virgin Atlantic.
  • Delta will retain its 49 percent stake.

Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will now coordinate efforts to secure the appropriate regulatory approvals.

The airlines’ expanded joint venture will become the preferred choice for customers travelling across the Atlantic offering the most comprehensive route network, convenient flight schedules, competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, including the ability to earn and redeem miles across all carriers. Customers will also benefit from the co-location of facilities at key hub airports to improve connectivity and access to each carrier’s airport lounges for premium passengers.

The signed agreements are all subject to regulatory approvals.

Copyright Photo: Once finalized, Virgin Atlantic will have a new ownership structure. Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-VNEW (msn 40956) “Birthday Girl” LHR (SPA). Image: 941875.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show:

Delta and Virgin Atlantic offer more choice between U.S. and U.K. this summer

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic launch their joint summer 2018 schedule this weekend – offering more nonstop flights than ever before from the U.S. to four airports in the U.K..

The leading trans-Atlantic partnership will offer more than 5 million seats between the U.S. and U.K. this summer, making it even easier to spend the holidays in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Belfast.

Highlights include:

More choice to London

  • Delta will resume the only nonstop services from Portland, Oregon, and Salt Lake City to London-Heathrow. Flights from Salt Lake City launch on April 1 with services to Portland, OR taking off on May 3.
  • Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, is adding a sixth daily service from New York-JFK to London Heathrow, while Delta is introducing the larger A330 onto its two daily services. Together, the partnership will be increasing capacity between the two hubs by 6 percent.
  • Delta has also scheduled A330s on services to London from Atlanta and Detroit, adding capacity on these two hub-to-hub routes also.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-323 N813NW (msn 799) NRT (Michael B. Ing). Image: 902202.

Above Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-323 N813NW (msn 799) NRT (Michael B. Ing). Image: 902202.

Increased nonstop flights to Scotland and Northern Ireland

  • Delta and Virgin Atlantic will be kicking off their biggest ever season to Scotland this summer – offering up to 17 flights a week from New York-JFK and Orlando.
  • Delta will operate daily nonstop services from New York-JFK to both Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports.
  • Virgin Atlantic is operating its longest season from Orlando to Belfast International – trebling the number of seats available.

Multiple connections to Manchester

  • Virgin Atlantic is increasing capacity between New York and Manchester, and will introduce a Boeing 747-400 onto the service from May.
  • Virgin Atlantic is also reintroducing its popular seasonal flights to Manchester from Las Vegas, San Francisco and Boston.

*Terms and conditions apply.

Delta aircraft slide show (Airbus):

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show:

Bottom Copyright Photo: Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 747-4Q8 G-VBIG (msn 26255) LHR (SPA). Image: 929824.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 747-4Q8 G-VBIG (msn 26255) LHR (SPA). Image: 929824.

Virgin Atlantic to fly twice daily London Heathrow – Johannesburg

Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-VFAN (msn 37977) MIA (Ken Petersen). Image: 936548.

Virgin Atlantic Airways has announced it will fly twice-daily between London (Heathrow) and Johannesburg starting on October 28, 2018. This comes after South African announced it would reduce its frequencies on the route to a daily flight.

Copyright Photo (other by Virgin Atlantic): Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-VFAN (msn 37977) MIA (Ken Petersen). Image: 936548.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show:

Virgin Atlantic updates its economy section

Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A330-343 G-VSXY (msn 1195) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 104583.

Virgin Atlantic Airways on March 7 announced the launch of three new ways to fly economy as part of a multi-million pound investment in the cabin for the 21st century traveller.

From the spring of 2018, Virgin Atlantic will introduce ‘Economy Delight, ‘Economy Classic’ and ‘Economy Light’ tickets. The three new ways to fly will allow customers to choose the product that suits their budget and travel style – but never compromise on inclusive food and drink, unrivalled service, and inflight entertainment.

Economy Delight will offer the leading economy product of any UK airline  – customers will enjoy a seat with 34 inch legroom, priority check in and boarding as well as advanced seat assignment. Economy Classic will now offer free seat assignment – providing extra reassurance for families and groups that they can sit together. The new Economy Light ticket will always offer Virgin Atlantic’s lowest fare – making long haul travel affordable and accessible for millennials, and customers jetting off on city breaks.

What the new fares offer:

Economy Light

Pack light and pay less.
Seat allocated at check in, then sail through security with hand luggage only.

 

Meals, drinks and snacks included

Hand baggage only

No refunds or changes

Economy Classic

Little extras that make a big difference.
Take a bag and choose your seats in advance.

Meals, drinks and snacks included

 1 x 23kg checked bag

 Free seat selection at any time

 Upgradeable with miles

Economy Delight

A bit more legroom, a lot more style.
Take the comfort level up a notch and get settled in sooner.

Meals, drinks and snacks included

 1 x 23kg checked bag

 Free seat selection at any time

 Upgradeable with miles

 Extra legroom seat

 Premium check in

 Priority boarding

Craig Kreeger, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, said:

“We’re unveiling the biggest change to our Economy cabin in over a decade – launching three new ways to fly, and a host of innovations on the ground and in the air as part of a wider £300 million investment in our customers. We know that one size doesn’t fit all, and from spring our customers can afford to be choosy and still travel in the UK’s leading economy cabin.

“We always want flying with Virgin Atlantic to be more special than other airlines, and we’ll never compromise on excellent service, industry leading food and drink and cutting edge inflight entertainment – regardless of which Economy ticket our customers are travelling on, they’ll be able to enjoy all this onboard.”

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic, said:

“When I started Virgin Atlantic I wanted to challenge the status quo and make flying amazing – regardless of which cabin you’re in – and that’s still true today.  We’re unveiling a multimillion pound investment to make Virgin Atlantic’s Economy cabin the best of any UK airline and setting the bar for others to follow.”

The three new ways to travel are part of a wider investment in Virgin Atlantic’s Economy cabin – delivering innovations on the ground, and in the air:

  • Investing in additional Economy Delight seats: At a time when most airlines are packing seats onto planes, Virgin Atlantic is investing in extra leg room. The airline is retrofitting its fleet to provide up to 36 Economy Delight seats on every flight – offering customers an even comfier journey with spacious 34 inch legroom.
  • Serving up the best Economy meals in the sky: All customers travelling in Economy will continue to enjoy a three course meal plus complimentary drinks and snacks – with a focus on supporting independent suppliers such as UK based Fairfield Farm Crisps, and the Grown Up Chocolate Company.
  • More personalised service at the airport: For the first time Virgin Atlantic is introducing automated bag drop at London airports, freeing up employees to provide a more personalised service where customers need it most. Four kiosks will open at London Gatwick this summer, followed by a further 18 kiosks at London Heathrow from winter 2018.
  • Keeping our customers connected: Every single seat in Economy now offers a personal USB charging point, and every route offers access to high speed Wi-Fi to help customers work and play on the go.
  • New aircraft: 12 new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft will join the fleet from spring 2019 – offering unrivalled levels of comfort and reliability for customers, and a brand new Economy cabin designed with Virgin Atlantic’s customers in mind.
  • Virgin scent: Virgin Atlantic has partnered with leading British candle maker Rachel Vosper to create a new scent called “Air.” Designed to evoke wellbeing and inspire future travel it will be available across check in, the gate and upon boarding the aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic and Delta offer the leading transatlantic partnership, and the new Economy products will offer a seamless experience for customers travelling with the airlines. Economy Delight, Economy Classic and Economy Light will complement Delta’s Comfort +, Main Cabin and Basic Economy products  – always offering a three course meal , Wi-Fi, hundreds of hours of inflight entertainment and excellent service regardless of the ticket type.

Copyright Photo: Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A330-343 G-VSXY (msn 1195) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 104583.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: