Virgin Atlantic To Launch Heathrow – Lahore & Islamabad

Virgin Atlantic will fly from London Heathrow to Islamabad and Lahore from December 2020.

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

Virgin Atlantic is to launch two new routes from London Heathrow to Lahore and Islamabad.

The flights will launch in December and will go on sale in September.

Virgin will fly from London Heathrow to Lahore four times weekly and to Islamabad three times weekly.

The airline has not confirmed exact details on aircraft and timings. Virgin will also fly from Manchester to Islamabad.

This decision is likely to be driven in part by the fact that the European Aviation Safety Agency has banned Pakistan International Airlines from flying to the European Common Aviation Area. Although, the Civil Aviation Authority has allowed Pakistan International Airlines to wet lease aircraft from other airlines.

Airlines are currently focused on routes that generate cash. A route such as this should provide sufficient passenger volumes from VFR (Visiting Friends & Relatives) traffic to be cash flow positive.

Also as airlines are unlikely to benefit from a airport slot usage waiver in the winter season, they will need to use their full slot portfolio to avoid forfeiting slots.

BA also flies from London Heathrow to Islamabad having returned to the city in 2019 after a gap of more than ten years. This will increase to five times weekly in September and daily in October. It would be surprising not to see a similar competitive response from BA.

Virgin Atlantic Reinstates More Routes At London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic will reinstate more destinations at London Heathrow throughout August and September 2020.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic aircraft at London Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Virgin Atlantic is to restart flying to more destinations at London Heathrow, with the aim of reinstating most of its London route network by the end of October 2020.

Virgin will restart scheduled passenger flights from Monday 20 July, flying from London Heathrow to Hong Kong. Los Angeles and New York JFK will follow on Tuesday 21 July.

The following Virgin Atlantic routes will be added in August:

Saturday 1 August – Barbados
Tuesday 4 August – Shanghai
Tuesday 18 August – Miami
Sunday 23 August – Lagos

The following Virgin Atlantic routes will be added in September:

Tuesday 1 September – Delhi, Las Vegas, Mumbai, Seattle and Washington Dulles
Sunday 6 September – Tel Aviv
Tuesday 8 September – San Francisco
Friday 14 September – Johannesburg
Saturday 15 September – Atlanta

The following Virgin Atlantic routes will be added in October:

Thursday 1 October – Antigua, Boston
Friday 2 October – Montego Bay, Grenada (via Antigua)
Sunday 4 October – Tobago (via Antigua)
Tuesday 6 October – Orlando

Continue reading “Virgin Atlantic Reinstates More Routes At London Heathrow”

Virgin Atlantic To Resume Passenger Flights From 20 July

Virgin Atlantic is to resume passenger flights on a small number of routes from 20 July 2020.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic aircraft at London Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Virgin Atlantic is to resume passenger flights at London Heathrow from Monday 20 July 2020.

Since late April, Virgin has suspended all passenger operations, operating cargo-only flights.

Virgin will reinstate passenger flights from London Heathrow to Hong Kong and Orlando from 20 July 2020.

Flights to Los Angeles, New York JFK and Shanghai will resume from Tuesday 21 July 2020.

At the time of publication flights, except Orlando, have been loaded on to the Virgin Atlantic website. Schedules indicate flights to Los Angeles will operate twice daily and flights to New York JFK will operate 4-5 daily. This does seem high for the restart of operations.

Virgin plans to reinstate more routes in August and these will be announced over the next two weeks. The airline expects to reinstate routes gradually throughout 2020 and into 2021 as demand for air travel returns. This will depend a large part on the lifting of travel restrictions and the impact of the UK’s mandatory quarantine regime on arriving passengers.

Virgin Atlantic has relocated to London Heathrow Terminal 2, due to temporary closure of Terminal 3.

In common with other airlines, passengers are asked to maintain social distancing throughout the airport and to scan their own boarding pass at the aircraft gate. Face masks are also required at London Heathrow and on board aircraft.

Virgin’s in-flight service has been reduced with a streamlined meal service and only soft drinks. Full details of these measures are available from Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic’s London Heathrow Route Network

Virgin Atlantic has confirmed its London route network after the consolidation of flights at London Heathrow.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic aircraft at London Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Virgin Atlantic has confirmed its planned route network at London Heathrow following its decision to suspend flights at London Gatwick for the foreseeable future.

The airline plans to gradually resume services throughout 2020 with a view to restoring a full flying programme in the summer of 2021.

The following routes will remain at London Heathrow:

Atlanta, Boston, Cape Town (winter seasonal), Delhi, Havana, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Lagos, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Mumbai, New York JFK, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, Washington Dulles.

Virgin has previously suspended Newark and dropped plans to launch Sao Paulo.

Delta, Virgin’s transatlantic joint-business partner, has not confirmed when it plans to resume services from London Heathrow.

The following former Gatwick routes will operate at London Heathrow by Sunday 28 March 2021:

Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Montego Bay, Orlando.

Virgin has previously suspended St Lucia.

Note that at the time of publication, Virgin is still selling these destinations on its website from Gatwick. It is likely that these destinations will be allocated new flight numbers when they transfer to Heathrow.

Virgin has not confirmed exact frequencies for its Heathrow schedule, other than that Tel Aviv will increase to twice daily.

Virgin Atlantic is currently operating from London Heathrow Terminal 2. No date has been set for its return to Terminal 3.

Continue reading “Virgin Atlantic’s London Heathrow Route Network”

Virgin Atlantic Cuts Lounge Services

Virgin Atlantic is to reduce its lounge services for Upper Class passengers until 1 June 2020.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow

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

Virgin Atlantic is to reduce its lounge services for Upper Class passengers, and eligible members of the Virgin Flying Club and partner airline programmes.

At London Heathrow, the “Revivals” lounge for arriving passengers will close entirely from Thursday 19 March.

The Clubhouse lounge at Terminal 3 will remain open but with reduced staffing.  The deli counter will be closed and shoe shine services will not be offered.  The spa and salon will also close from Monday 23 March.

The current plan is for services to return to normal on Monday 1 June 2020.

However, given how quickly events are moving with Coronavirus, nothing than can be ruled out.  

No airline is expecting a return to normal schedules for many months, if at all this year.

Virgin is currently operating a significantly reduced schedule and expects to have 85% of its aircraft grounded in April. Given the scale of this reduction, a number of lounges outside of London will inevitably close temporarily.

On a lounge related note, American Express has announced that all of its Centurion lounges worldwide will close temporarily from Saturday 21 April 2020.

Virgin Atlantic Suspends London Heathrow – Tel Aviv

Virgin Atlantic is to temporarily suspend its route from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv until 1 April 2020.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow

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

Virgin Atlantic is to temporarily suspend its route from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv.

This is due to entry requirements imposed by Israeli authorities on arriving passengers, which include flights from the UK.

The last outbound flight, under number VS453, will operate on Wednesday 10 March 2020.

The last inbound flight, under number VS454, will operate on Thursday 11 March 2020.

Flights are currently scheduled to resume from London Heathrow on Wednesday 1 April 2020. However, this may change.

Passengers whose flights are cancelled are entitled to a refund. Alternatively, passengers can rebook for travel up to Wednesday 30 September 2020.

Affected passengers can find contact details for Virgin Atlantic here.

At the time of publication, British Airways services from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv are still scheduled to operate. However, this may change imminently.

Update Wednesday 11 March 2020: BA has cancelled one of its daily flights Tel Aviv (BA163 / BA162). Flights BA165 & BA164 continue to operate.

Virgin Atlantic Postpones Launch Of Heathrow – São Paulo

Virgin Atlantic has postponed the launch new of its new route from London Heathrow to São Paulo to Monday 5 October 2020.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow

São Paulo, Brazil

Virgin Atlantic is to postpone the launch of its new route from London Heathrow to São Paulo.

Virgin was due to launch a new daily service to São Paulo Guarulhos international airport on Sunday 29 March 2020.  

However, this has now been delayed until Monday 5 October 2020.

The airline has cited the uncertainty caused by the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) as the reason for the delay.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund. Virgin should also the opportunity to rebook to a later date, or a rerouting via its transatlantic joint-venture partner Delta Air Lines.

There is no doubt that the current situation facing all airlines is now very serious, with significantly reduced demand.  

With so many events being cancelled and organisations banning international travel, there is very little that can be done to stimulate demand.

Virgin has followed many other airlines in waiving change fees for new flights booked up to Tuesday 31 March 2020 for travel up Wednesday 30 September 2020. 

Update Saturday 18 April 2020:

Virgin has now cancelled its planned launch of Sao Paulo entirely.

Virgin Atlantic Returns To Cape Town

Virgin Atlantic is to return to Cape Town after a five year break with a new winter seasonal service from London Heathrow.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Virgin Atlantic is to return to Cape Town after a break of five years with a new winter seasonal service from London Heathrow.

Flights will operate daily from Sunday 25 October 2020 with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Virgin used to fly to Cape Town until April 2015 when the route was suspended as part of a wide-ranging review of the Virgin Atlantic route network.

Cape Town is a hugely popular winter long-haul destination and the arrival of additional capacity will be welcomed.

Following the closure of Thomas Cook, the route has been exclusively operated by British Airways with daily Boeing 747s from London Heathrow and a winter seasonal Boeing 777 service from London Gatwick.  It’s fair to say that the interior condition of Virgin’s 787-9 aircraft is significantly better than some of BA’s soon to be retired 747s that are used on this route.

Flight VS478 will depart London Heathrow at 16:20 arriving at Cape Town at 05:55.

Flight VS479 will depart Cape Town at 08:00 arriving at London Heathrow at 18:00.  

Note the return to London Heathrow is a day flight and some may passengers prefer a night flight. There is of course the option of flying back to Heathrow overnight on Virgin Atlantic’s daily service from Johannesburg.

Flights will go on sale from Tuesday 18 February 2020.

Virgin Atlantic Suspends London Heathrow – Shanghai

Virgin Atlantic has suspended its daily service from London Heathrow to Shanghai in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Virgin Atlantic has suspended its daily service from London Heathrow to Shanghai Pu Dong airport.

This follows a decision by a large number of European airlines to either suspend outright, or substantially reduce, scheduled services to airports in mainland China following the Coronavirus outbreak.

The World Health Organisation has also declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The last outbound flight from London Heathrow, VS250, will operate on Friday 31 January 2020. The last inbound flight, VS251, will operate on Saturday 1 February 2020.

Virgin Atlantic currently plans to resume its outbound flight from London Heathrow on Monday 17 February 2020 and its inbound flight to London Heathrow on Tuesday 18 February 2020. However, this is subject to review.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund, or to rebook to a later date.

Virgin Atlantic will continue to fly daily from London Heathrow to Hong Kong. Passengers who are due to fly to Hong Kong can also request a refund or rebook to a later date.

The latest guidance is available from Virgin Atlantic.

Update Thursday 6 February 2020

Virgin Atlantic has since extended the length of cancellation until Sunday 29 March.

Virgin Atlantic Relaunches London Heathrow – Mumbai

Virgin Atlantic is to return to Mumbai for the third time with the launch of daily flights from 27 October 2019.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Virgin Atlantic is to return to Mumbai for the third time with the relaunch of flights from London Heathrow from Sunday 27 October 2019.

Virgin Atlantic and Mumbai has a long history.

Virgin first launched flights from London Heathrow to Mumbai following the liberalisation of services between the UK and India in 2005. This saw a number of airlines, such as bmi British Midland, enter the market and the route was suspended.

The route was launched again in 2012 with different timings in the hope of capturing connecting traffic to Virgin’s North America route network. It was suspended for a second time in 2015 as part of a wide-ranging reshaping of Virgin’s route network towards North American routes.

Since then, Virgin had relied on a codeshare with Jet Airways to serve Mumbai, and following its recent collapse Virgin has now reinstated the route.

This, together with the launch of Tel Aviv and Sao Paulo, does point to Virgin seeking to move beyond North American routes at London Heathrow. What may work in Virgin’s favour this time is a potential future codeshare partnership with Air France and KLM.

Flights will be operated with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft and will go on sale at Virgin Atlantic from Tuesday 28 May 2019.

London Heathrow – Mumbai

Depart London Heathrow 10:15 – Arrive Mumbai 00:40
Depart Mumbai 02:55 – Arrive London Heathrow 07:35