Virgin Atlantic – a new route coming in Winter 2020?

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  • sparkyflier
    Participant

    On another aviation focused website there is a discussion as there is apparently a rumour that VS will announce a new long haul route this coming Winter timetable.

    As many of you will know, I do like the analytics of a good route discussion, but this time instead of it being a BA focused one, how about a Virgin Atlantic one!

    There have been many developments with VS in the past months – new routes to TLV and GRU spring to mind, a code share with Westjet, a JV with DL, AF & KL and I think there is an agreement with another airline in the “Delta family”, China Eastern.

    And of course they have new aircraft coming – A350s and new A330s.

    No clue was given about if the route was from MAN, LHR or LGW, so to start the ball rolling here are some of my thoughts:-

    If LHR ( I know slots are scarce)

    Canada -Toronto or Vancouver, codesharing with Westjet and thus getting feed from them
    San Diego – would get lots of traffic from Virgin Holidays and I reckon areal Virgin route
    Austin, TX – one of BAs major recent successes, but also something of a Delta mini hub I hear.
    Mexico City – Aeromexico is another Delta family airline and they could codeshare – I suspect Mexico and UK will have much increased business and tourism going forward
    Accra – there is certainly demand for another airline between UK and Ghana. They served this route before with A340s and I believe they had to leave not due to lack of demand, but some odd fuel supply issue I seem to recall.
    Cape Town – I know they pulled out of this the other year, but they used fuel hungry A343s on this route and the demand is there for a seasonal flight. How about a morning departure from LHR, returning that night, so not sitting in the ground all day, and so getting not just O&D traffic, but also feed from Transatlantic flights arriving early morning.

    With the health scare in Asia, I suspect there will not be Far East developments until that is solved, however, if an India route, how about Calcutta/Kolkota – it is the only major city not served by BA and would not only serve O&D demand, but also US traffic with Delta

    LGW
    Cancun making a return – I know they just pulled out, but with Thomas Cook’s demise maybe this is viable again.
    St Vincent?
    less likely – Fortaleza, Brazil (again, now Delta has an interest in Latam, a codeshare and also feed from Brazil with this).

    Re South America, I suspect VS will be forced to switch the Brazil partner from GOL to Latam.

    Manchester

    How about an Indian route – Mumbai or Delhi, now that Jet are no longer around?

    So what are your thoughts? Heard any rumours, and if any, what are your predictions?


    MarkivJ
    Participant

    In addition to TLV and GRU, they also re-introduced mumbai!

    As for new routes – I like Austin or if we’re talking India, then BLR. No way any EU airline would want to fly to kolkotta.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    With the health scare in Asia, I suspect there will not be Far East developments until that is solved

    Indeed. Remember that VS teamed up with VA to sell London-Sydney. But that routing will be scrapped in a few weeks time seeing as VA is axing Sydney-Hong Kong.

    One wonders which airline(s) VS will be using in place of VA ?


    sparkyflier
    Participant

    Hi Markiv J – re India I thought of BLR, but both BA and AI serve (as well as AF & KL) that route, and no airline in the JV serves Kolkata, so VS will be adding something. Re “EU airline”, this does not include VS any more as UK has now left the EU 😉

    Alex VS goes into HK and separate airline Virgin Australia has a flight from Sydney which is stopping – but is that a suspension or a cancellation? But if VA does stop this totally then I think VS will not be able to market Sydney as a destination, unless they connect with MU at PVG with a codeshare.

    However do you think that will affect the viability of the VS LHR-HKG route, excluding factors such as the virus and recent protests?


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    According to reports from Australia it’s a permanent cut.

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/virgin-australia-pulls-out-of-hong-kong-as-protests-coronavirus-bite-20200206-p53yba.html

    I wouldn’t have thought it would affect the viability of the Hong Kong route (the other factors you note are of more concern though).


    canucklad
    Participant

    They ditched YVR , after what I thought was a half hearted attempt at establishing it as a route, so more likely to head across the border to Seattle to compete with BA using Delta as their protector . At YVR no incumbent carrier to protect them against BA’s/AC’s dominance.

    YYZ would be a winner if they could establish seamless connections with Westjet, and as long as the onward flight was westbound to the prairies and no further, or eastbound to the maritime provinces excluding Halifax

    Whatever the route/s I’d have thought their first and most important priority is to get FlyBe sorted out, otherwise thy’re dependant on BA for interline traffic at T3


    MarkivJ
    Participant

    Reg Seattle : they’re increasing from 7 to 11 weekly in summer 2020. I fly the Seattle route and I’m impressed and amazed at how full it is all the time, regardless of class. Frankly, I wouldn’t even be surprised if it goes double daily in summer 2021.


    sparkyflier
    Participant

    Word has it that it is….. Cape Town. Anyone know the schedules? This would be a great seasonal addition and give some much needed competition. I guess likely a 789 although would prefer A350.


    JohnnyG
    Participant

    openfly
    Participant

    Will BA pull the 3 times a week CPT now? That is seasonal too.


    kershcliff
    Participant

    And once again those outside of London have to do the Heathrow “shuffle”
    Still no flights from MAN to South Africa.
    Surely VIRGIN with a good and successful Transatlantic Service from MAN, could start say 2 of the 7 weekly flights from up here!


    capetonianm
    Participant

    Will BA pull the 3 times a week CPT now? That is seasonal too.

    Do you mean 3 x day seasonal?
    Those flights are so full that I think VS could fill their own aircraft without much impact on BA’s load.
    It’s a worrying trend because CPT is becoming unbearable in the summer with too many people using too little infrastructure, locals priced out of many establishments, and so on.


    sparkyflier
    Participant

    Openfly it is a good question. I wonder if the LGW is for some people competition for their own LHR flights, assuming most LGW 777s have been refurbished now, and so far nicer in J and Y+ than BA’s clapped out 747s. I guess they don’t even put on the refurbished 744s as there is no direct competition! The LGW schedules are decent as well.

    Of course 10 abreast in economy on the 777s is far from pleasant but that is another matter.

    Capetonian I appreciate your post in the impact of all this traffic and the point of the level of demand. But wondering something you may know. Years ago the aim was to make CPT A380 suitable – is that on the horizon yet? I am wondering if VS entering the market will push BA to refurbish more 747s or put other more modern aircraft on.

    I would suggest A350s but the BA ones do not have First and also do not have the catering space for such a long flight.I understand they customized theirs to have minimal galley space (barely enough for one meal service,) so to fit in more seats.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    And once again those outside of London have to do the Heathrow “shuffle”
    Still no flights from MAN to South Africa.

    kershcliff – Maybe it’s to do with yield ? VS can command higher yield ex-London.

    But Mancunians have direct choices not just with the mainland European carriers but also with ET and the Gulfies.


    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    And once again those outside of London have to do the Heathrow “shuffle”
    Still no flights from MAN to South Africa.
    Surely VIRGIN with a good and successful Transatlantic Service from MAN, could start say 2 of the 7 weekly flights from up here!

    Not sure how exactly that would work?

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