Category Archives: Virgin Atlantic Little Red

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

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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 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

 

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