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.
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.
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.
On the morning of the announcement, as per standard protocol, it held a webcast for analyst and the question and answer session that follows provides a lot of useful insight into current strategic developments at the airline group.
Here is a summary of some points of interest from the call: