Virgin Atlantic is set to return to Canada next summer, with direct flights from London Heathrow to Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The carrier briefly operated flights to Toronto around 2001, and more recently served the Canadian city of Vancouver (but this route has not operated since 2014).

The daily service will launch on 30 March, 2025, and the route will be operated by a mix of aircraft including the A330-900neo – complete with Virgin’s Retreat Suite. This marks the airline’s first route to Canada in more than a decade, with fares starting from £490 per person.

Virgin also plans to expand its codeshare partnership with Canadian carrier WestJet in October, with benefits for both airlines’ frequent flyers “expected to follow in 2025”.

The news came as the airline celebrates its 40th anniversary. Virgin Atlantic launched in June 1984 with a route from London Gatwick to Newark, New Jersey, operated by a Boeing 747 aircraft.

Fast forward to 2024 and the airline has recently launched its 15th service to the US, with flights between Manchester and Las Vegas complementing its existing daily flights from London Heathrow. In a press release, the airline stated that “the USA and Caribbean remains Virgin Atlantic heartland”.

Virgin Atlantic has also set its sights beyond these regions, with the airline launching a service to India’s Bengaluru in April, while also confirming a second daily service to Mumbai from October 2024. In 2025, the carrier will offer over a million seats to India, which marks a 350 per cent capacity growth since 2019.

We spoke to CEO Shai Weiss earlier this year regarding this expansion, and also explored Bengaluru in the June issue of the magazine.

Interview with Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic

Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Atlantic, commented:

“When starting Virgin Atlantic 40 years ago, I went against everyone’s advice. Friends, experts, the press, the pundits – and on paper, they were right. Back then, travelling by plane wasn’t a fun experience, but airlines were allowed to get away with it as no real competition existed.  I realised then that there was a gap to give passengers a great experience – and I love a challenge. The result was our ruby red airline, that shook up aviation.

“Since then, there have been many occasions where people told me we’d fail. But we kept the same belief then that I had in 1984 – if you can create something that’s much better than what everybody else is offering, then you have at least a chance of succeeding.

“From 1984 to 2024, it’s our people who make me the proudest. They are much more than just a workforce; they are what makes Virgin Atlantic special. They’re the red thread that keeps us all together and I know they will continue to look after our customers for the next 40 years and beyond.”