News

Little Red’s transfer traffic disappoints

20 May 2013 by Alex McWhirter

The idea behind Little Red was to feed domestic passengers to and from Virgin Atlantic long-haul services at London Heathrow.

Since the demise of Bmi (a key domestic feeder airline) Virgin Atlantic has been reluctant to rely on rival British Airways to provide it with transfer passengers hence its Little Red offshoot.

But a report in The Scotsman suggests that Little Red has not succeeded as well as might be expected.

Only 27 per cent of Little Red passengers have been making connections at Heathrow.

With the exception of Manchester, the majority of passengers flying the two Scottish routes (namely Aberdeen and Edinburgh to London) have been heading just to the capital.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic told The Scotsman that it “was carrying a lot of connecting leisure passengers from Manchester while travellers from Aberdeen and Edinburgh were tending to end their journeys in London.”

But the spokeswoman claimed that, “It takes time for an airline to get going – after six weeks it’s still in its infancy and we’re seeing some healthy loads, especially from Edinburgh.”

Nevertheless Little Red had months to promote its Scottish routes and in its first month of service it was offering free connecting flights to London provided passengers flew onwards with Virgin Atlantic. So one would have thought Little Red would have turned in a better performance.

As for Little Red’s purely domestic operation, it is no surprise that Edinburgh is doing well in terms of passenger numbers. Little Red’s pricing is keen. At certain times of the day one might end up paying LCC (low-cost carrier) prices.

See ‘Platform’ in the June issue of Business Traveller for an air-rail comparison featuring Little Red and East Coast.

For more information visit virgin-atlantic.com

Report by Alex McWhirter

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