Virgin Atlantic to bring back Heathrow-Cape Town

12 Feb 2020 by Jenni Reid
Cape Town

Virgin Atlantic will relaunch daily flights between London Heathrow and Cape Town on October 25 for the winter season.

The route will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with economy, premium economy and business class (though not the new Upper Class Suite on the carrier’s A350 aircraft).

VS478 will depart Heathrow at 1620 and arrive in Cape Town at 0555 the following day. The inbound, VS479, will depart at 0800 and land at 1800.

Bookings will open on February 18.

British Airways has been the sole carrier on the Heathrow-Cape Town route since the collapse of Thomas Cook last year.

Virgin Atlantic currently flies daily to Johannesburg, but dropped its Cape Town service – along with Tokyo, Mumbai and Vancouver – in 2015, describing the routes as unprofitable and announcing a focus on the US.

The carrier brought back Heathrow-Mumbai in October 2019.

It launched Heathrow-Tel Aviv in September 2019, and will begin Heathrow-Sao Paulo in April, competing with BA and LATAM on the route.

Virgin Atlantic B787-9

Virgin has repeatedly said it should be allowed a greater share of slots at Heathrow, but with the airport’s expansion plans still up in the air, it has been placing an emphasis on Manchester Airport. It will open its first Clubhouse at the airport this year.

Virgin Atlantic to increase summer capacity from Manchester

Juha Jarvinen, the airline’s chief commercial officer, commented: “2020 is an extremely exciting year of continued growth for Virgin Atlantic.

“Not only are we launching a new service to Sao Paulo in March but we’re delighted to announce a new seasonal service to Cape Town offering more choice for our customers than ever before.

“We’re delighted to be flying to Cape Town again. We’re expecting a high proportion of leisure travellers on this route taking advantage of the winter sun, the safaris and of course, the world-famous wine region.”

Last week a new transatlantic joint venture between Virgin Atlantic, Delta, Air France and KLM officially launched.

It will see frequent flyer programme members able to earn and use miles, and enjoy elite benefits. The airlines will also alter their schedules to provide more complementary connection times.

Virgin, Delta, Air France and KLM launch expanded joint venture

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