Tag Archives: virgin atlantic

Virgin Atlantic to operate the Boeing 787-9 from London to Dubai

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will start using the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the daily London (Heathrow) – Dubai route commencing on July 21, 2016 according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787-9 G-VAHH (msn 37967) named “Dream Girl” taxies at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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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 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

AG A team of photographers

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 flight VS 43 to Las Vegas returns safely to London Gatwick with a main gear problem

Virgin Atlantic 747-400 G-VROM over Brighton

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) flight VS 43 from London (Gatwick) to Las Vegas today encountered a technical problem after departure with its main landing gear. After dumping fuel over the Atlantic Ocean and circling south of LGW, the Boeing 747-400 landed safely at LGW. One of the main gears was not fully locked.

Virgin Atlantic tweeted this message:

Virgin Atlantic can confirm that flight VS 43 has landed safely back at Gatwick. Our priority now is to look after our passengers and crew.

Above Twitter photo by GorseFires Collectif. Boeing 747-443 G-VROM (msn 32339) circles over Brighton with the unsafe gear.

Below Copyright Photo: Robbie Shaw/AirlinersGallery.com. A close-up of the main gear moments before it landed at London Gatwick. The right outboard main gear did not deploy fully.

Virgin Atlantic 747-400 G-VROM gear LGW (RSW)(LRW)

Read the full report from The Guardian: CLICK HERE

Video of the landing minus one main gear:

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show:

Virgin Atlantic is assessing a London-Lusaka route

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is assessing the opportunity of a direct route to the Zambian capital, with founder Sir Richard Branson saying the airline will “consider the possibilities” of launching the route according to The Post in Zambia.

The airline’s owner has also advised the Zambian government to ensure local entrepreneurs are able to invest in the country and thrive.

Two major European carriers, British Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, previously abandoned direct flights to the Zambian capital. Both within the space of a year; rendering the African nation without a direct flight service between Lusaka and a respective European capital.

The government has consistently intimated that a national carrier is in the pipeline, but progress still depends on the final decision the nation’s Cabinet will make.

Addressing a media briefing at Lusaka’s Radisson Blu Hotel on Friday, December 5, Sir Branson said the Virgin Group will look at the feasibility of establishing a direct London-Lusaka route but would first have to assess how viable the Zambian market would be in view of the two recent pull-outs by other carriers.

“It seems a great pity that you [Zambia] don’t have a direct service to the UK. When I leave, I will look at the feasibility. I certainly don’t promise that we could make a success of it, but we will certainly have a look at it and see whether we can make the figures work,” he said.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic announces three new Boeing 787-9 routes

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will operate its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner daily to Dubai, Johannesburg and Shanghai (Pudong) from London (Heathrow) starting on October 25, 2015 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Ian Bowley/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-9 G-VNEW (msn 40956) “Birthday Girl” is pictured at East Midlands on a training flight.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show:

 

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 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