UPDATED ON 24/05/22
Virgin Atlantic has now confirmed that Edinburgh-Barbados has been suspended for this winter. The airline says that Scottish customers will be offered other options including its Manchester-Barbados service.
Weak customer demand has prompted Virgin Atlantic to suspend its Barbados services from Manchester and Edinburgh in the coming weeks.
The airline says both routes will resume in the winter.
Manchester-Barbados will be suspended after April 30 which may not inconvenience too many customers.
More serious is the situation with Edinburgh-Barbados which will be suspended just two months after it was launched.
This route was a highlight of Virgin Atlantic’s arrival in the Scottish capital. The airline must have thought a Barbados route would appeal to the locals.
Virgin Atlantic launched this route in December and the airline now says it will be suspended effective February 16.
This must be a disappointment for both the airline and Edinburgh airport.
I say that because in 2021 Virgin Atlantic transferred its Scottish base from Glasgow to Edinburgh, a move which attracted a fair amount of criticism – see reader comments at the end of this report.
Quoted in The Scotsman a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said “The [schedule] change [from Edinburgh] was made because of ‘subdued bookings’”.
The airline blames this on “changing travel restrictions and [UK] arrival testing requirements”.
So what should Scottish customers wishing to take Virgin Atlantic to Barbados do after February 16?
They can of course travel by road or rail to Manchester (before that route is suspended) or they can connect via London using British Airways for the domestic leg.
However this isn’t as easy as it sounds as a Heathrow terminal transfer is needed.
Virgin Atlantic has provided Business Traveller with the following comment regarding the route suspensions:
“We’re continually reviewing our flying and holiday schedules, including Barbados services from our home in Scotland, Edinburgh Airport. This winter, changing travel restrictions and arrival testing requirements set by the UK and Scottish governments led to subdued bookings on the route.
“Following careful review, we’ve taken the difficult decision to shorten the existing Edinburgh – Barbados schedule, with the last flight of this winter season now departing to Barbados on 16 February and inbound to Edinburgh on 22 February.
“Edinburgh is an important new gateway for Virgin Atlantic and we’re fully committed to serving our Scottish customers and this much-loved Caribbean destination, which we know has long-term viability as Scotland’s only direct route to the Caribbean, offering an idyllic winter sun destination.
“That’s why we’re excited to confirm that Barbados services will continue next winter, from 12 December 2022, and as planned, twice-weekly Orlando services will commence from 30 March 2022.
“We know our customers love travelling to Barbados, and sincerely apologise for any disappointment caused to those due to travel on services from mid-February up until 23 April 2022, which will unfortunately be cancelled.
“Affected customers will be contacted in the coming days with their options, including the choice to convert their booking to a voucher or request a full refund.
“If re-routing is a suitable option, we can also rebook customers on alternative Barbados services from Manchester or London Heathrow. Those who booked via a third party such as a travel agent should contact them directly for their options.”
In better news, as we recently reported Virgin is set to resume its London Heathrow to Tobago service this week.