Tag Archives: Virgin Atlantic Airways

Delta and Virgin Atlantic to return to Heathrow Terminal 3 from July 15

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways are returning to their home at London Heathrow Terminal 3, which has been closed for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on July 15.

The airlines are looking forward to safely welcoming customers back onto their home turf, which has been missed by many, with their signature flair, dedicated seamless check-in area and award-winning facilities.

Delta is operating nonstop services to Heathrow from both Atlanta and New York-JFK, however U.S. entry restrictions for non-essential travelers from the U.K. still apply. Virgin Atlantic destinations including Antigua, Barbados, Grenada and Israel are all classified as “Green” on the Government’s travel list, which means customers are not required to quarantine on their return.

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport launch trials for fully vaccinated customers

British Airways made this announcement:

VeriFLY and BA

  • Later this week customers traveling on selected flights from the US, Caribbean and Europe to London Heathrow will be invited to take part in a proving trial to support the Government in lifting some of the most onerous restrictions for travelers arriving from ‘amber list’ countries
  • Fully vaccinated travelers of all nationalities will be able to present their Covid-19 credentials in digital or paper format to help prove vaccination status can be quickly and easily checked away from the border and allow safe entry to the UK
  • Anonymized data will be shared with the UK Government at the earliest opportunity, providing real-world insights to support the introduction of a scheme to exempt fully vaccinated passengers from self-isolation
  • Participants will continue to adhere to current restrictions for travelers entering from ‘amber list’ countries during the trial period
  • The proof-of-concept aims to support the Government to introduce exemptions for fully vaccinated travelers no later than 19 July, allowing the UK to catch-up with the EU and US, which have already introduced similar schemes
  • Routes including Los Angeles-LAX and New York-JFK have been chosen given Transatlantic air links between the US and UK are vital to re-start business, reunite families and allow people to go on holiday

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport have joined forces to prove it’s possible to quickly and easily verify those arriving into the UK who are fully vaccinated – an identification process already in place for outbound travel to several countries. Earlier this week, Germany became the latest country to confirm it would accept fully vaccinated UK travelers without the need to quarantine. The new UK proving trial, enabling inbound travelers to present their fully vaccinated status, will support the Government to move forward with its plans to remove quarantine for double jabbed passengers entering the UK from ‘amber list’ countries.

The initiative will see fully vaccinated volunteers traveling on selected flights from Athens, Los Angeles, Montego Bay and New York to London Heathrow showing proof of their vaccine status. The trial aims to reassure Government that airlines and airports can check vaccine status upstream and away from the Border, ensuring no further pressure in UK immigration halls. Those taking part in the trial will be able to use a dedicated arrivals lane at the border and British Airways customers will be able to access a discounted rate for the mandatory arrivals tests.

Internationally recognized vaccination credentials will be accepted in the proving trial including the NHS app, CDC card, US state-level digital certification and EU Digital Covid Credential. British Airways will also support customers’ vaccine verification through the VeriFLY app and Virgin Atlantic customers can verify their vaccine certificate through a new digital uploader tool, developed in partnership with Delta Air Lines and backed by TrustAssure™ technology. As the proof-of-concept develops, the options for customers to show vaccine status will rapidly be expanded, across physical, digital and integrated formats, including IATA Travel Pass.

The UK has led the world with its successful vaccine program, which the Government promised would lead to the end of Covid restrictions. To date, 86% of UK adults have had a first dose of a Covid vaccine, with 64% fully vaccinated. Data from Public Health England has shown two doses of the vaccines offer 79% protection against becoming ill from the Delta variant and reduces the likelihood of needing hospitalization by 96%.

Despite this incredible achievement the UK is failing to reap the economic and social rewards, falling behind countries like France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta, all of which accept fully vaccinated travelers, including US residents, without the need for quarantine. The US also allows its fully vaccinated residents to avoid self-isolation. The Government’s own transparency data also continues to show very low positivity in test results from ‘green’ and ‘amber’ country arrivals, with just 0.4% testing positive, and none of them had a variant of concern.

Representatives from the travel industry have been clear about the consequences for the UK’s economy and jobs of not opening the corridor quickly enough, with hundreds taking part in a day of action on June 23. Today, Heathrow released new research from CEBR, reinforcing the importance of aviation to the Government’s ambitions for Global Britain, which could help industry deliver a £204 billion trade boost to benefit every corner of the UK. Heathrow has warned that this cannot be realized unless the UK’s aviation industry is supported by Government policies to resume flying as soon as possible. By capitalizing on the country’s vaccine dividend, ministers can help to deliver this economic stimulus for exporters across Britain, ensuring the UK retains its competitive edge as the country comes out of lockdown.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson restated that this important step to exempt fully vaccinated travelers from self-isolation would happen ‘later this summer’, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps set to provide more detail this week. It’s hoped the proof-of-concept will encourage the Government to introduce exemptions for fully vaccinated travelers no later than 19 July, allowing the UK to catch-up with the EU and US, which have already introduced similar schemes.

 

Delta and Virgin Atlantic to launch built-in digital health credential; provides blueprint to reopen trans-Atlantic travel

Delta Air Lines has made this announcement:

  • Airlines will implement new technology on select routes between U.S. and U.K., with broader availability coming this summer
  • No third-party app downloads for an easy-to-use and guesswork-free experience
  • Technology built on trusted health standards and designed to adapt to changing landscape as more markets reopen

Delta customers traveling between the U.S. and U.K. this summer will be among the first to use Delta FlyReadySM, a new digital health credential solution that will help take the guesswork out of meeting health requirements during international travel. The tool will initially help manage testing requirements, but Delta will integrate vaccination credentials into Delta FlyReady later this summer – great news for customers looking to travel to Delta FlyReady-eligible destinations that require proof of vaccination for entry.

Delta began testing the new solution in late April on flights between Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and London’s Heathrow Airport. Delta FlyReady assists customers in scheduling a COVID-19 test that meets destination requirements, automatically verifies their test results and confirms the traveler meets the necessary testing requirements in place at their destination. In partnership with Virgin Atlantic Airways, customers traveling on either Delta- or Virgin Atlantic-operated flights will be able to use the tool beginning this summer.*

Virgin Atlantic plans to begin testing the solution, adapted as Virgin Atlantic FlyReadySM, on Virgin Atlantic-operated flights between London Heathrow and U.S. cities starting in June. Those eligible to use the tool during the test will be contacted before travel with more information on how to participate.

As of June 17, 2021, the U.S. remained on the U.K.’s Amber List as part of its phased plans to reopen international travel into the country this summer. Airlines continue to encourage both governments to enable U.K. residents and citizens to enter the U.S., and to move the U.S. to the U.K.’s Green List, fully reopening the trans-Atlantic corridor. As these discussions continue, Delta and Virgin Atlantic are putting technology into action that will serve as a blueprint to reopen international travel broadly.

AN EASY-TO-USE EXPERIENCE TO VERIFY ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Delta FlyReady is a new technology solution built on trusted health standards to digitally verify testing documents** needed to travel on both Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights.

Here is an overview of how the experience works for eligible customers:

  • Book your flight and check your email. Because the solution is integrated directly into Delta’s systems, there is no need for customers to download an additional app – eligible customers can access Delta FlyReady through a link found in their pre-flight email or My Trips before travel.
  • Schedule your COVID-19 test up to three days before departure. In partnership with TrustAssure, Delta will serve up verified COVID-19 testing locations near you and offer the option to book a test in a couple of clicks.*** Once you have taken your test, you will receive an email from TrustAssure confirming your Delta FlyReady status or notifying you of additional actions needed.
  • Already have results from another test provider? No problem. If you chose to get tested through another provider, use the “upload test results” option to verify a digital copy or photo of your results. Upload before arriving at the airport, verify and enjoy the same time-saving benefits of your Delta FlyReady status.
  • Check-in as you normally would before travel. No need to stress – Delta has automatically linked your Delta FlyReady status to your itinerary, and you are ready to travel.****

Delta FlyReady offers benefits for Delta employees as well. Over time the solution will limit the amount of paperwork involved in verifying a customer’s Delta FlyReady status. Airport agents will be shown a digital indicator to prove the customer has met necessary requirements, lowering the risk of denied boarding.

All customer health data associated with Delta FlyReady is encrypted. Nothing is stored in Delta’s systems. Delta only receives a digital indicator showing that the customer has met the applicable legal requirements.

Virgin Atlantic bids farewell to its iconic Boeing 747 with pop up dining experience on board

Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 747-443 G-VROY (msn 32340) LAS (Jay Selman). Image: 402519.

Virgin Atlantic Airways has made this announcement:

  • Airline set to open doors to its Boeing 747 aircraft for one day only on December 12
  • Last chance to say farewell to the iconic Boeing 747 “Queen of the Skies” before it’s retired to make way for a younger, sustainable fleet
  • A limited number of tickets will be on sale from 09:00 on Monday, December 7, 2020 via https://virg.in/747experience

Virgin Atlantic is opening the cabin doors to its last Boeing 747 for the final time, in what’s set to be the hottest ticket in town for aviation enthusiasts.  For one day only, the public will be able to purchase tickets for the ultimate 747 experience, including the opportunity to dine on-board, safely, in Upper Class.

As the airline’s fleet of jumbos are retired to make way for a younger, more sustainable fleet of A350-1000s and B787-9s, Virgin Atlantic is allowing fans one final fix inside the Queen of the Skies.  Hosted at the airline’s Heathrow hangar on December 12, 2020, visitors will experience a full aircraft tour, where they can delve below deck to explore areas of the plane the public rarely see, as well as enjoy a sumptuous three course on-board meal. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to The Trussell Trust.

Virgin Atlantic pilots, cabin crew and engineers who have worked on the 747 will be present to provide first-hand accounts and anecdotes on what life was like on-board the famous jumbo jet. In what’s set to be the gift of a lifetime for plane buffs, guests will enjoy a three hour all-encompassing 747 experience, where they will;

  • Sip champagne on the aircraft’s upper deck, fondly known as ‘the bubble.’
  • Savour a luxurious, three course a-la-carte meal, inspired by Virgin Atlantic’s on-board cuisine, from the comfort of their own Upper Class suite.
  • Hear first-hand what life was like at the controls of the queen of the skies from the airline’s pilots, including Yvonne Kershaw, the first female pilot to Captain the 747.
  • Take a hidden tour to the parts of the aircraft the public don’t usually see.  Visit where the cabin crew and pilots sleep, delve into in aircraft’s underbelly, explore the cargo hold and take a seat in the cockpit.
  • Have a photo taken in one of the aircraft’s iconic red engines, as a memento from the day.

Health and safety is Virgin Atlantic’s absolute priority, so due to Covid restrictions and to allow for social distancing, only a limited number of tickets are available for purchase.  These will be allocated on a first come first serve basis via  https://virg.in/747experience from 9 am on Monday 7th December.  Each ticket is priced at £50 with all donations going to the Trussell Trust.  The Trussell Trust support a network of food banks and provide emergency food and support and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented;

“The much-loved Boeing 747 has played an important role in Virgin Atlantic’s story.  It carried our first passengers to New York 36 years ago on our inaugural flight and over the years has transported countless millions of holiday-makers and business travelers safely around the world.  As we close this chapter and continue the transformation towards a cleaner, greener fleet, what better tribute than to showcase the Queen of the Skies one last time.  I’m delighted we’re able to offer this opportunity to a lucky few to be part of aviation history, before we say our fond farewells to this iconic plane.”

As the airline moves forward to a more sustainable fleet, Virgin Atlantic’s legion of 747s have now ceased operations in favor of cleaner, greener, twin engine aircraft, comprised of the Airbus A350-1000 and the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.  Each of these new planes is on average 30% more fuel efficient than the four engine aircraft they replaced. This investment alongside improving operations has led to a 20% reduction in total aircraft emissions (2007-2019), and these latest changes will generate approximately another 10% improvement in fuel efficiency in our fleet overall compared to pre-Covid-19.

Boeing 747-400 G-VROY is estimated make its final departure from London Heathrow on the December 16, 2020. 

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 747-443 G-VROY (msn 32340) LAS (Jay Selman). Image: 402519.

Virgin Atlantic Airways aircraft slide show:

Virgin Atlantic launches pre-departure COVID-19 testing trial on Heathrow-Barbados flights

Virgin Atlantic Airways has made this announcement:

  • Customers on selected flights travelling from London Heathrow to Barbados, and onwards to Antigua and Grenada will be requested to take a free rapid, point of care, lateral flow antigen test before they fly, delivered by health professionals at Collinson and Swissport’s Terminal 2 Pre-Departure testing facility.
  • The free tests at departure point provide peace of mind and a further layer of health and safety for customers, in addition to existing multi-faceted measures and the RT-PCR test entry requirement for Barbados, Antigua and Grenada.
  • This Virgin Atlantic testing trial will contribute to the development of pre-departure testing at scale at Heathrow and provide real-world evidence on testing effectiveness to enable governments to move quickly to a robust pre-departure testing regime and safely remove quarantine.

 

From December 9, 2020, Virgin Atlantic customers flying to Barbados or onwards to Antigua and Grenada on selected flights will receive a free, rapid, point of care, pre-departure lateral flow antigen test at London Heathrow Airport, as part of an airline-led trial to gather vital data on the logistics and effectiveness of pre-departure testing.

Virgin Atlantic continues to lead the way with industry in calling for the introduction of a robust pre-departure regime, to swiftly and safely replace the new UK ‘test and release’ scheme commencing on December 15, 2020. Virgin Atlantic’s trial initiative, six weeks in duration, will further demonstrate the deliverability of a pre-departure testing regime at scale, offering real-world data for these popular leisure routes as UK travel restrictions for non-essential travel ease as of December 3, 2020.

 

Industry-led trials at London Heathrow support the latest independent analysis by Oxera and Edge Health which shows that all forms of passenger testing would be more effective than the current 14-day quarantine. The UK Government confirmed plans this week for a ‘test and release’ strategy for international arrivals to England, ending quarantine after five days and presentation of a negative Covid-19 test. However, the Government has said it will evolve its approach as it gathers further evidence on its effectiveness. Anonymous data from the Virgin Atlantic trial will be accumulated to inform academic work to influence UK policymaking.

 

Shai Weiss, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Atlantic said:

“The new UK test to release scheme is a vital first step in re-opening the skies, but we must now move rapidly towards a single test pre-departure regime in order to ensure the survival of UK aviation and protect 500,000 jobs reliant on the sector. Our Heathrow-Barbados testing trial, in close collaboration with partners including Collinson, London Heathrow and the Barbados Ministry of Tourism & International Transport, will gather vital data on the efficacy of a pre-departure testing regime to safely replace quarantine. We hope that testing will also lead the way for US borders to open to UK travelers.

“Moving to a pre-departure regime, supported by latest independent evidence, would be twice as effective as quarantine. Passengers should be able to take a test from up to 72 hours before departure, including a rapid test at the airport on the day of departure. Valid tests should include PCR, Rapid Point of Care LAMP and lateral flow technologies used by government in other settings, with no diversion from NHS testing capacity. We call on the Government to follow the evidence, support industry trials, and lead the way in allowing free movement of people and goods to resume.”

“Airport testing is critical to getting the travel ecosystem moving again, which is why we opened the first and second UK pre-departure testing centres earlier this year,” said David Evans, Joint CEO at Collinson. “We’re excited to partner with Virgin Atlantic on these lateral flow antigen test trials as we continue to lead in this space. As well as giving travellers and arrival destinations some much-needed confidence that all passengers have received a negative result prior to departure, the data from these trials will provide further evidence on the effectiveness of airport testing. With the results, the industry can fine-tune testing models to get the best systems in place for broader travel recovery – and we’ll continue to work with our partners across the sector to ensure travel thrives once more.”

The simple nasal and throat swab in Virgin Atlantic’s trial will be administered up to 1 hour 45 minutes before departure by a registered nurse at the Pre-Departure Collinson and Swissport Terminal 2 facility, taking no more than five minutes. Customers will receive their digital and printed test result within less than 30 minutes, proceeding to security and boarding following confirmation of a negative result. The customers included in the trial will be contacted by Virgin Atlantic in the coming days with information on the pre-departure test.

Working with the Barbados Government and with customer consent where required, Virgin Atlantic will seek to add the results of this trial to the body of evidence being aggregated by Heathrow to understand the effectiveness of pre-departure testing. Barbados is on the UK Government’s travel corridor list due to its low levels of Covid-19 community cases and the evidence gathered will support a reduction in quarantine post-arrival, so that customers can enjoy their holiday, whilst ensuring destinations remain secure.

 

Dr Anton Best, Chief Medical Officer, Barbados Ministry of Health, said:

“The Government of Barbados has worked assiduously over the past nine months to effectively manage the pandemic here, and through comprehensive, dynamic and evidence-informed public health protocols, we have continued to ensure the safety of our community. This has made us attractive to discerning travellers who are seeking to safely work or vacation in our island paradise during this challenging time. We therefore support this initiative which underscores the importance of safe and responsible travel, and thank Virgin Atlantic for their continued partnership.”

 

The testing trial will offer further peace of mind for customers and build upon Virgin Atlantic’s multi-layered approached to health and safety to ensure that customers fly safe and fly well.

 

Complementing the outbound pre-departure rapid testing trial from London Heathrow to Barbados and onwards to Antigua and Grenada, Virgin Atlantic intends to move to a second phase to gather data with pre-departure rapid testing for selected inbound services from December 15, 2020. This coincides with the start of the UK ‘test to release’ regime on day five to generate critical data and support the removal of quarantine for international arrivals.

 

Should a customer decide in advance that they do not wish to participate in the trial, they will have the choice to rebook free of charge to another Virgin Atlantic flight. If a customer tests positive, they will be able to rebook free of charge or cancel their trip.

 

The first flight in the trial will be VS186 departing Wednesday 9 December. Selected Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow to Barbados operate as a ‘double drop’ service, stopping first at Barbados Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) then onwards to Antigua (ANU) or Grenada (GND).

Virgin Atlantic aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Atlantic to fly from Manchester to India

Virgin Atlantic Airways has made this announcement:

Virgin Atlantic will launch a duo of new routes from Manchester to Mumbai on December 19, 2020 and to Delhi on January 5, 2021 benefitting half a million Indian diaspora living across the north

Virgin Atlantic is delighted to announce it will be launching services to Delhi and Mumbai from Manchester as the airline ramps up flying from its home in the north.

Flying three times a week from Manchester to Mumbai beginning in December and twice weekly to Delhi starting in January, these new services will go on sale on 20th October and will complement the airline’s existing daily services to these two Indian cities from London Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic looks forward to resuming its Manchester to Barbados service on October 26, 2020, followed by its first flight from Manchester to Islamabad launching on December 10, 2020. Flights from London Heathrow to Islamabad and Lahore launch on December 12 and 13.

 

Route details:

Manchester to Mumbai

Frequency: Three times a week (Mon, Wed, Sat) starting on 19th December 2020

Flight number: VS326 / VS327

Aircraft type: Boeing 787-9 – 31 Upper Class. 35 Premium and 192 Economy Delight, Classic and Light

Fare: Return Economy fares start from £473 per person, Premium from £733, and Upper Class from £2,481

The new Mumbai service will benefit the 58,757 passengers from Manchester Airport’s vast catchment area that travel to the city indirectly each year.

Manchester to Delhi

Frequency: Twice a week (Tues, Fri) starting on 5th January 2021

Flight number: VS324 / VS325

Aircraft type: Boeing 787-9 – 31 Upper Class. 35 Premium and 192 Economy Delight, Classic and Light

from £480 per person, Premium from £1,135 and Upper Class from £2,512

Virgin Atlantic restarted passenger flying on July 20, 2020 after a three-month hiatus due to the Covid-19. To ensure the health and safety of customers and crew, Virgin Atlantic is implementing additional measures to offer peace of mind in the airport and when taking to the skies. These include enhanced and thorough cleaning practices at check in, boarding gates and onboard including the use of electrostatic spraying of high-grade disinfectant in all cabins and lavatories before every flight, ensuring no surface is left untouched.  Safe distancing will also be adhered to wherever possible, and mask wearing will be required throughout the journey. All customers will be provided with a personal Health Pack for their health and safety, which will contain three medical grade face masks to be worn onboard, surface wipes and hand gel.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft photo gallery:

Farewell Millennium Falcon

Javier Rodriguez reporting from Spain:

Little by little the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400 registered as G-VLIP is losing its promotional decals “Millenium Falcon” as it has been sold to Atlas Air for cargo purposes and will be ferried in a few weeks to US.
G-VLIP is pictured at Ciudad Real International Airport.
Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez.

Virgin Atlantic completes solvent recapitalisation

Virgin Atlantic Airways has made this announcement:

Airline calls for robust passenger testing regime to open the skies

Virgin Atlantic has announced the completion of the £1.2bn private-only solvent recapitalisation of the airline and holiday business. Its Restructuring Plan has now been sanctioned by the English High Court under Part 26A of the UK Companies Act 2006, and formally recognised in the US court. This final step in the legal process paves the way for the Company to continue its efforts to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis a sustainably profitable airline.

Achieving this significant milestone puts Virgin Atlantic in a position to rebuild its balance sheet, restore customer confidence and welcome passengers back to the skies, safely, as soon as they are ready to travel. However, the devastating impact of Covid-19 on global aviation continues unabated and the airline must take further steps to ensure survival.

The solvent recapitalisation is a major step forward in securing the future of Virgin Atlantic

Now the Restructuring Plan has been formally sanctioned by the UK court and given full force and effect in the US, the airline will implement its Restructuring Plan with the support of Virgin Group and Delta, existing creditors and new private investors, keeping Virgin Atlantic flying and providing essential competition and connectivity to customers.

  • The Plan delivers a refinancing package worth c.£1.2bn over the next 18 months in addition to the self-help measures already taken: £280m in cost savings per year, £880m reduction in fleet capex in the next five years.
  • Shareholders Virgin Group and Delta are providing c.£600m in support over the life of the plan, including a £200m investment from Virgin Group and the deferral of c.£400m of shareholder payments such as brand fees and Joint Venture related costs.
  • The airline continues to have the support of credit card acquirers (Merchant Service Providers) Lloyd’s Cardnet, First Data and American Express.
  • Davidson Kempner Capital Management, a global institutional investment management firm, is providing £170m of secured financing and the airline’s largest creditors and suppliers are contributing an additional £450m by way of deferrals

Testing to relax travel restrictions and remove quarantine is vital

The outlook for transatlantic flying, which is core to Virgin Atlantic’s business, remains uncertain with US-UK travel curtailed. Until travel returns in greater numbers, survival is predicated on reducing costs further and continuing to preserve cash. On the back of the continued success of Virgin Atlantic Cargo operations, the restart of skeleton passenger operations – with flights to New York JFK, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Barbados, Shanghai, Miami and Delhi so far and Tel Aviv restarting on Sunday – has been an important achievement.  While performance has been encouraging, it is imperative that every sector the airline operates is cash positive.

Transatlantic flying represents 70% of Virgin Atlantic’s network. Since 16 March it has not been possible for many British nationals to enter the US upon arrival from the UK, Ireland and the Schengen Area. Since June, travellers arriving in the U.K. from the US have been subject to 14 days quarantine. The US border closure and UK quarantine measures have been in place for far longer than originally anticipated. As the airline increases passenger operations, the opening of US borders and removal of quarantine is imperative to recovery. These travel restrictions impact on Virgin Atlantic disproportionally given its long-haul operations focussed on the transatlantic. The airline is calling for both UK and US governments to introduce robust passenger testing regimes to lift travel restrictions whilst protecting public health.

Based on current outlook, the airline is planning to a scenario in which transatlantic flying from the UK does not extend beyond current skeleton operations until the beginning of 2021. In this scenario, capacity operated across its network in Q4 2020 would be c.25% of 2019, and revenues in 2021 could be only 50% of 2019 levels.

The devastating impact of Covid-19 on global aviation continues unabated and further steps must be taken to ensure survival

The last six months have been the most challenging in Virgin Atlantic’s history. Even in the toughest times, the people of Virgin Atlantic are what sets it apart and they have made tremendous sacrifices. Unfortunately, despite actions already taken to reshape and resize the business, regrettably the airline must go further one last time with changes at scale, to ensure it emerges from this crisis.

  • Today it is announcing further downsizing across the business, with a planned reduction of 1,150 jobs across all functions. Working closely with unions Unite and BALPA, a company-wide consultation period of 45 days begins today.
  • To mitigate as many cabin crew redundancies as possible, additionally, the airline is introducing a voluntary, Company-led and financed furlough scheme for an additional 600 crew when HM Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends at the end of October. Should HM Government extend its Scheme, the airline intends to continue to benefit from it.

 

Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic commented:

“Together, we have achieved what many thought impossible and that is down to the efforts and sacrifices of so many across the Company. The completion of the private-only, solvent recapitalisation of Virgin Atlantic removes much of the uncertainty we faced and represents a major step forward in our fight for survival. We greatly appreciate the support of our shareholders, creditors and new private investors and together, we will ensure that the airline continues to provide vital connectivity and competition.

“Now we must focus our efforts on securing our long-term future, by ensuring that Virgin Atlantic not only survives but thrives as passenger demand returns. It’s clear that the introduction of passenger testing is the only way to enable the removal of travel restrictions and open up flying to key markets, while protecting public health. We will continue to work with our industry partners to press for urgent government action.

“After the sacrifices so many of our people have made, further reducing the number of people we employ is heart-breaking but essential for survival. I truly hope that as demand returns, we will see many members of our team returning to us. The unique spirit of our people, the passion we have for our customers and each other, and the drive to do things better has been tested but not broken. There will be a recovery, the timing and speed of which is uncertain. When our customers return to the skies we will be there to welcome them onboard with belief in our future. It is then that we will appreciate that everything we have done, painful to so many, was worth it.”

Virgin Atlantic set to launch new services to Pakistan from London and Manchester

Virgin Atlantic Airways has made this announcement:

Virgin Atlantic has announced it will be launching flights  to  Pakistan in December 2020.

Operating three new routes from London Heathrow to Lahore, London Heathrow to Islamabad, as well as from Manchester to Islamabad; these new services will go on sale in September 2020 subject to applicable regulatory approvals, and will boast Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, Premium and Economy Light, Classic and Delight offering.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented:

“With travel restrictions remaining in place for many destinations around the world, we’re continually evaluating our network, looking at customer demand and where there are opportunities to launch new services.”

“Pakistan is an extremely exciting opportunity for us – it boasts one of the largest foreign-born populations in both the UK and the US and, as people start to travel to visit loved ones, we’re anticipating the demand  to visit friends and relatives will increase post COVID-19. Both Lahore and Islamabad are popular year-round destinations and we look forward to welcoming travellers onboard as demand for leisure and business travel gradually increases to the region”.

“We also see a significant opportunity to increase competition in the US – Pakistan market. Using the strength of our trans-Atlantic services we’re able to offer customers the shortest journey to and from destinations in the US such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington by connecting through London Heathrow”.

Virgin Atlantic restarted passenger flying on  July 20, 2020 after a  three month  hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently operating flights to New York JFK, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Barbados and Miami with further routes being added throughout September and October.

 

Virgin Atlantic provides complimentary COVID-19 global insurance cover for all bookings

Virgin Atlantic Airways has made this announcement:

  • To support customers and provide additional peace of mind, Virgin Atlantic has introduced Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cover, which will apply to all existing and new bookings, travelling from 24 August 2020 up until 31 March 2021.
  • The insurance policy with Allianz Assistance offers comprehensive cover in the event that a Virgin Atlantic customer or travel companion becomes ill with COVID-19 while on a trip.
  • Emergency medical costs, associated expenses such as transport and accommodation and repatriation up to £500,000 are included, as well as costs if a customer is denied boarding or held in quarantine.

 

Virgin Atlantic customers can book with confidence this year with the introduction of free COVID-19 insurance cover on all new and existing bookings.

The policy, which applies automatically to all flights booked with Virgin Atlantic, is designed to complement existing travel insurance and provide additional peace of mind for upcoming trips, whether customers are already booked or plotting a getaway.

In the event that they or anyone else on their booking becomes ill with COVID-19 while travelling, Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cover ensures related costs are covered, no matter how long the trip is or even if they’re visiting another destination on the same overseas trip. The insurance policy is fulfilled by Allianz Assistance and covers emergency medical and associated expenses while abroad totalling £500,000 per customer – the highest value of policy offered by any airline to date, with no excess payment required.

The policy also covers expenses incurred up to £3,000 if a customer is denied boarding, at either departure or in destination, or has to quarantine due to positive or suspected COVID-19 during a trip.

Customers booked to travel from 24 August 2020 up to and including 31 March 2021 will automatically receive the new COVID-19 Cover and Virgin Atlantic Holidays customers will also benefit, where the flights on their holiday booking are with Virgin Atlantic. Providing the customer is travelling on a Virgin Atlantic ticket, if the flight is operated by a partner airline or a Joint Venture carrier – Delta Air Lines or Air France-KLM – the cover will also apply. Tickets can be booked via virginatlantic.com, by phone or through a travel agent, including reward tickets on Virgin Atlantic flights.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic said:

“Our priority is always the health and safety of our people and customers and this industry-leading Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cover ensures customers can continue to fly safe and fly well with us.

“Following our return to the skies to much-loved destinations like Barbados, we’re planning more services in the autumn, as travel restrictions continue to ease, including London Heathrow to Montego Bay, Antigua, Lagos and Tel Aviv. Whether it’s to visit friends and relatives or take a well-deserved break, we believe this complimentary cover will provide some added reassurance for our customers as they start to plan trips further afield. It applies in parallel to existing travel insurance policies which may now exclude COVID-19, and provides comprehensive cover for coronavirus, recognising the needs of our customers as we restart services.”

Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cover joins the airline’s flexible booking policy to give as much choice as possible to customers as they make their future travel plans. Customers booking with the airline have the option to make two date changes to their flights, with rebooking available up until 30 September 2022. These date changes have the associated change fee waived, though potential fare differences may be incurred if the new travel dates are after 30 November 2020.

Key features of the COVID-19 Cover include:

  • 24-hour emergency medical assistance
  • £500,000 of emergency medical expenses if you are taken ill due to Coronavirus during your journey, including treatment, transport and accommodation costs
  • Additional costs should a customer be denied boarding due to suspected or actual COVID-19, or if they are held in quarantine, including accommodation, transport charges, refreshments, booking amendment fees and other travel expenses
  • Repatriation home, including private air ambulance where necessary
  • No excess payable
  • Cover for the whole trip, with no upper limit on the length of customer’s time away
  • Cover for all passengers with no restrictions on age, travel class or length of journey
  • Terms and conditions apply.

The cover starts from the point of booking and ends when the customer returns home or to a hospital or nursing home in their home country. One-way trips are also included, with the insurance cover valid until the end of the journey, which is defined as 12 hours after the arrival of the customer’s final flight.

For a full breakdown of Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cover and more information on the policy visit the Virgin Atlantic website: https://flywith.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/news/coronavirus/free-global-cover-for-COVID-19.html

As part of its multi-layered approach to public health measures, and for customer convenience, peace of mind and confidence, Virgin Atlantic will direct customers towards a list of recommended companies that offer COVID-19 ‘PCR Antigen’ testing, where it’s required to travel. This list will be constantly reviewed by the Medical, Health and Safety teams to ensure the highest standards. Information about the testing requirements for destinations that Virgin Atlantic currently flies to can be found on the website: https://flywith.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/news/coronavirus/travel-restrictions.html