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
Virgin Atlantic is to launch a new route from London Heathrow to São Paulo.
Virgin Atlantic will fly to São Paulo Guarulhos international airport from an as yet unspecified date in 2020. The route will be operated with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Virgin has yet to publish a schedule. However, it’s a reasonable assumption flights will leave Heathrow late in the evening to arrive in São Paulo in the early morning.
São Paulo may at first seem daunting for the visitor. It is certainly a very sharp contrast to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro and it is a destination where you do need to some homework in advance. However, São Paulo does have excellent night life, art galleries and public parks such as Ibirapuera Park. Locals are also extremely welcoming and helpful to visitors.
One of the biggest issues is traffic congestion and you do need to allow a generous amount of time when travelling to the airport. If you are also taking domestic flights in Brazil you want to fly to/from Congonhas-São Paulo airport which is much more conveniently located.
Given Virgin’s focus on North America in recent years, it is encouraging to see more non-North American routes. Virgin Atlantic’s 49% shareholder Delta owns a stake in Brazilian airline GOL which may have been one of the factors behind the decision.
Virgin Atlantic will be competing head to head against BA and LATAM, who are due to launch a new joint-venture with Iberia covering Europe – Latin America, subject to an appeal in Chile.
Virgin Atlantic is to launch a new route from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv from Monday 25 September 2019.
Flights will operate daily and the route will be operated with an Airbus A330 aircraft.
It is relatively rare for Virgin to launch a route to a destination outside the US. Indeed, many non-US routes have been suspended in recent years in favour of increased flights to the US. Tel Aviv is also a destination already well served from London by BA, easyJet and El Al. However, this route is likely to have been chosen to pick up feeder traffic to Delta and Virgin flights to the US.
When Air France-KLM and Virgin combine their respective transatlantic joint-ventures with Delta, it will also benefit from joint-marketing by Air France and KLM.
Virgin Atlantic has not yet officially confirmed the schedule, but local media report an afternoon departure from London Heathrow and an early morning departure from Tel Aviv, subject to seasonal changes.
London Heathrow – Tel Aviv
Flight VS453 Depart London Heathrow 13:30 – Arrive Tel Aviv 20:35
Flight VS454 Depart Tel Aviv 07:15 – Arrive London Heathrow 11:10
From Sunday 27 October 2019:
Flight VS453 Depart London Heathrow 16:00 – Arrive Tel Aviv 23:05
Flight VS454 Depart Tel Aviv 06:05 – Arrive London Heathrow 09:55
Virgin Atlantic has suspended its daily service from London Heathrow to Dubai from Sunday 31 March 2019.
The route was taken off sale today, Wednesday 27 June 2018. Virgin Atlantic has been flying to Dubai since March 2006. Its suspension follows the the cancellation of a number of routes outside of North America from London Heathrow including Accra, Cape Town, Mumbai, Nairobi, Sydney, Tokyo Narita, and Vancouver.
There will be of course continue to be substantial capacity between London and Dubai with Emirates operating six A380s a day from London Heathrow alone, as well as three times daily flights from Gatwick and daily flights from Stansted. BA will also continue to fly to Dubai up to three times daily from London Heathrow.
Virgin has not yet announced any re-accommodation arrangements for displaced passengers. However, if your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund.
Virgin Atlantic has today, Wednesday 16 May 2018, announced a series of changes to its transatlantic route network.
As part of these changes, Virgin is to move its route to Las Vegas from Gatwick to Heathrow from Sunday 31 March 2019.
Virgin Atlantic has flown from London Gatwick to Las Vegas since June 2000. At the time it was the only airline to fly direct to Las Vegas from London. That was until BA launched its own route from Heathrow in October 2009. Virgin has also operated limited flights from London Heathrow for the Consumer Electronics Show.
Due to the move the flight will switch from a Boeing 747 to Boeing 787. This means a significant increase in Upper Class seats from 14 to 31 and a decrease in premium economy seats from 66 to 35 and economy seats from 375 to 192. The additional flight at Heathrow will be accommodated by a reduction in frequency on London Heathrow – Los Angeles.
Operating from Heathrow will enable Virgin to compete against BA which offers substantially more premium capacity with its Boeing 747 service from Heathrow.
BA will continue to fly to Las Vegas from Gatwick year-round. Norwegian also flies from Gatwick to Las Vegas on a winter seasonal basis from 5 November 2018.
London Heathrow – Las Vegas
Flight VS155 Depart London Heathrow 12:40 – Arrive Las Vegas McCarran International 15:25
Flight VS156 Depart Las Vegas McCarran Internaional 19:05 – Arrive London Heathrow 12:55
Additional Boston Frequency
Virgin Atlantic has also announced an additional flight to Boston will launch on Sunday 31 March 2019.
It will be operated by an Airbus A330-300 aircraft. An additional transatlantic day flight is certainly welcome.
Flight VS157 Depart London Heathrow 20:30 – Arrive Boston Logan International 23:00
Flight VS158 Depart Boston Logan Internaional 19:05 – Arrive London Heathrow 20:10
These flights will be on sale at Virgin Atlantic from Saturday 19 May 2018.
Virgin has also confirmed that winter seasonal flights from London Heathrow to Barbados will return on Tuesdays and Saturdays from Tuesday 11 December 2018 to Saturday 23 February 2019.
Virgin Atlantic is to operate two special return flights between London Heathrow (departing on Sunday 7 & Monday 8 January 2018) and Las Vegas (returning Friday 12 & Saturday 13 January 2018) for the benefit of visitors to the annual Consumer Electronics Show.
Virgin Atlantic is to operate two special return flights between London Heathrow and Las Vegas for the benefit of visitors to the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January 2018.
The flights will depart London Heathrow on Sunday 7 and Monday 8 January 2018 and will return from Las Vegas on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 January 2018.
Flights will be operated using Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner which features a larger Upper Class cabin as well as amenities such as in-flight WiFi.
These will complement Virgin’s existing Boeing 747 service between London Gatwick and Las Vegas and will compete BA’s own direct Boeing 747 services between London Heathrow and Las Vegas which can operate up to twice daily.
This new “pop up” route does point to Virgin being flexible with its schedule to take advantage of peaks in demand. The airline is to also launch a seasonal route from London Heathrow to Barbados in December 2017, which will again complement its London Gatwick service.
Virgin Atlantic is to launch a new winter seasonal route from London Heathrow to Barbados.
The airline will fly from London Heathrow to Barbados Grantley Adams International Airport from Tuesday 12 December 2017 to Saturday 24 February 2018. Flights will operate twice weekly each Tuesday and Saturday. The route is then scheduled to resume on Tuesday 11 December 2018.
This will be the only direct route between London Heathrow and Barbados. This will complement Virgin Atlantic’s existing daily service from London Gatwick.
Flights will be operated using an Airbus A330 aircraft with 33 Upper Class, 48 Premium Economy and 185 Economy seats.
Virgin Atlantic has announced it is suspending its summer seasonal route from London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare airport from summer 2017.
The seasonal route had been due to return in 2017 from May to October. However, the route has now been suspended permanently.
It is something of understatement to say that the Chicago route has something of a chequered history at Virgin Atlantic.
The route has been launched and suspended on more than one occasion and most recently has operated on a summer seasonal basis only. It is highly unlikely that the route will now ever return.
Whilst no reason has been given for the cancellation, it is likely that United and British Airways & American Airlines offering significantly higher frequencies (some six joint daily flights in the case of AA & BA) has put Virgin Atlantic at a competitive disadvantage.
Affected passengers should contact either Virgin Atlantic or their travel agent to arrange re-routing via Delta and Virgin Atlantic services to other North American gateways such as New York JFK and Detroit.
Virgin Atlantic’s “Little Red” short-haul airline which operated flights between London Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen using aircraft and crews leased from Aer Lingus has ended operations as of Saturday 26 September 2015.
Virgin Atlantic’s short-lived “Little Red” UK domestic network has now closed. Virgin Atlantic has now reverted back to being an exclusively long-haul airline.
Little Red’s last flight was VS3025 from Aberdeen to London Heathrow late on Saturday 26 September 2015.
The short-lived subsidiary operation of Virgin Atlantic, lasting a little over two years, flew between London Heathrow and Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
It was born partly out of the requirement for British Airways to make slots available to competitors as a condition of the takeover of bmi British Midland by its parent company, International Airlines Group.
In the absence of any alternative airline coming forward to bid for the slots, the slot pairs forfeited by British Airways will now revert back to the airline.
This leaves British Airways as the sole operator of UK domestic flights from the North of England and Scotland to London Heathrow.
In terms of the impact of the closure of Little Red on connectivity to London Heathrow, British Airways is required to make seats available on its UK domestic network got connections to Virgin Atlantic and other airlines which codeshared with Virgin Atlantic Little Red such as United Airlines and Air New Zealand.