BAs launches London City – Manchester (sort of..)

BA will fly between London City and Manchester just once a week between Sunday 21 May and Sunday 1 October 2017.

London Air Travel » Manchester

BA CityFlyer Embraer at London City Airport
BA CityFlyer Embraer at London City Airport

British Airways is to launch a new route from London City to Manchester.

Interested? Well don’t get too excited. There’s just one return flight a week and it only operates from Sunday 21 May to Sunday 1 October 2017!

However, there is method behind the madness. Allow us to explain:

London City is closed from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. As this would leave BA’s fleet of Embraer aircraft otherwise sitting on the ground, last year it ran a successful experiment of summer weekend leisure flights from Stansted. BA is now looking to extend this to other UK airports and Manchester is the latest airport to gain weekend leisure routes.

BA will offer weekend leisure flights from Manchester to Alicante, Ibiza, Malaga, Mykonos, Nice and Palma from late May to October 2017.

As BA needs to move aircraft from London City to Manchester to operate the flights, it has also opened this flight for sale to passengers.

Flights from Manchester are on sale now at ba.com.  The only exception are flights between Manchester and London City which go on sale on 21 February 2017.

Please note that the timetables below are indicative only. There may be changes to the schedule depending on the strength of forward bookings.

Whilst food & drink should initially be complementary in EuroTraveller, at some point in the summer BA is expected to extend its Marks & Spencer Buy-On-Board to all London City flights and London Stansted and Manchester weekend leisure flights.

With the exception of Alicante, all of these routes are also served by BA from Heathrow and it should be possible to “mix and match” direct flights with indirect flights via London Heathrow (or via Iberia in Madrid in some cases). If booking connections take care not to book connections from different London airports as any travel between London airports will be at your own expense and not recommended.
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Virgin Atlantic takes firsts steps to create Manchester hub

London Air Travel » Manchester

Virgin Atlantic Logo (Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic)
Virgin Atlantic Logo (Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic)

Virgin Atlantic has today, 31 March 2016, announced that it is to launch new routes from Manchester to Boston & San Francisco from late March 2017.

Boston will initially operate twice weekly (Wednesdays & Saturdays) and San Francisco will initially operate thrice weekly (Tuesdays, Fridays, & Sundays).

Flights will be operated by Virgin Atlantic’s fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft with Upper Class (business), premium economy and economy seating.

Virgin Atlantic has of course long had a presence in Manchester. It flies to Orlando, Barbados, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. The latter being the hub of its transatlantic partner and minority shareholder, Delta Air Lines.

However, what is noteworthy about today’s announcement is that first these routes seemingly are geared to attracting business as well as leisure traffic.

Furthermore, Virgin will, for the first time we believe, offer a significant number of short-haul connections at Manchester with Flybe from a large number of airports in the UK and Europe such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Exeter, Southampton and Newquay.

As such, today’s announcement could presage the development of small, but growing, hub for Virgin Atlantic at Manchester.

It is also good to see Virgin Atlantic expanding after a period of contraction at London Heathrow with the closure of its “Little Red” domestic flights to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester, as well as the closure of a number of routes such as Cape Town, Mumbai, Tokyo and Vancouver.

It also points to a very growing and competitive transatlantic market in the UK. Indeed, Boston and San Francisco are two recently announced routes by Norwegian at London Gatwick.

In terms of competitive response from carriers in London, we don’t expect any immediate response from British Airways or its parent company IAG.

BA attracted considerable criticism many years ago for withdrawing its final non-London international route, Manchester – New York JFK. BA would no doubt point to its growing transatlantic network in London, its codeshare partner American Airlines flights from Manchester to New York JFK, Chicago and Philadelphia and its IAG sibling Aer Lingus flights to North America from Manchester via Dublin (with the benefit of pre-clearance). That said, we have no doubt today’s developments will be watched with interest.

Virgin’s flights from Manchester to Boston and San Francisco are on sale at Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic begins closure of “Little Red” with suspension of Manchester

Virgin Atlantic’s has suspended its “Little Red” short-haul flights between London Heathrow and Manchester as of late March 2015. Virgin Atlantic “Little Red” will continue to fly between London Heathrow and Aberdeen and Edinburgh until Saturday 26 September 2015.

London Air Travel » Manchester

Airbus A320 aircraft in Virgin Atlantic “Little Red” livery

The winding down of Virgin Atlantic’s short-lived UK domestic operation “Little Red” has started with the London Heathrow – Manchester route now suspended, some two years after it first launched.

Virgin Atlantic’s “Little Red” operation will continue to fly from London Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh three and six times daily until Saturday 26 September 2015.

It’s also worth adding that holders of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles can redeem their miles for Virgin Little Red flights from 7,500 miles. Flying Club members can also earn bonus miles on Little Red flights.

What will happen to the “Little Red” Heathrow slots?

Some of the slots used by Little Red were from Virgin Atlantic’s existing slot portfolio, so some will revert back to Virgin Atlantic.

Many of the slots (at least nine) were forfeited by British Airways as a consequence of the acquisition of bmi by its parent company, International Airlines Group.

The trustee appointed to oversee the release of slots has re-advertised the slots. The deadline for applications is 2 April 2015.

If there is no bidder, the slots will revert back to British Airways.

There are no obvious candidates for the slots. However, a potential candidate would be easyJet if it felt inclined to launch flights at Heathrow to support its increased targeting of the business market.

Virgin Atlantic to end “Little Red” short-haul flights

Virgin Atlantic has announced the closure of “Little Red” short-haul flights from London Heathrow. Flights to Manchester will cease on Saturday 28 March 2015 and flights to Aberdeen and Edinburgh will cease on Saturday 26 September 2015.

London Air Travel » Manchester

Airbus A320 aircraft in Virgin Atlantic “Little Red” livery

After much press speculation and claims by rivals about poor load factors, Virgin Atlantic has today confirmed it is to close its “Little Red” short-haul operation from London Heathrow.

Flights between London and Manchester will cease on Saturday 28 March 2015.

Flights between London and Aberdeen and Edinburgh will cease on Saturday 26 September 2015.

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Sunday Times: Virgin Atlantic to close “Little Red”

The Sunday Times (of London) has reported on Sunday 7 September 2014 that Virgin Atlantic is to suspend “Little Red” short-haul flights from London Heathrow to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester.

London Air Travel » Manchester

Airbus A320 aircraft in Virgin Atlantic “Little Red” livery

The business section of today’s Sunday Times leads with a story (subscription required) that Virgin Atlantic is to close its “Little Red” domestic operation from London Heathrow to Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

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Virgin Atlantic CEO describes performance of “Little Red” as “progressing satisfactorily”

London Air Travel » Manchester

Airbus A320 aircraft in Virgin Atlantic “Little Red” livery

It’s been over four months since Virgin Atlantic launched its short-haul operation from London Heathrow to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester and, so far, we have only anecdotal evidence to rely on to judge the performance of these routes.

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