Virgin Atlantic joining Skyteam – what “new routes” can you envisage?Back to Forum
I believe a factor which prevents Delta buying any more of Virgin is that a UK airline cannot have one overseas shareholder owning more than 49%. I stand to be corrected on this. I did think no airline can have more than 49% owned by overseas interests, but think that AF/KL also own a share which implies that is not the case.
Re Virgin’s network, well they have moved away from many routes, but also now they have a far more fuel efficient fleet than before with no 747/346/343 nowadays.
I did share cwoodward’s concerns over the years about their long-term viability, but do think joining Skyteam makes them more relevant. Also with BA IMO not recognising the opportunities in some areas this opens up options for VS. And in UK they still have a good reputation (which with better products coming on 330 neo/350 etc) which can further improve. There are also areas where capturing VFR traffic can be successful (Pakistan).
So with more efficient planes, and better scale opportunities with Skyteam, more imagination with routes, improved products, Virgin can find a niche and indeed provide much competition to BA’s worldwide network. VS is becoming a more attractive option in my opinion.
As this thread has shown there are many routes where posters feel could be viable26 Oct 2022
Whilst they seem to make a lot of changes and are always in the news promoting it – new routes, cabin crew uniforms, new aircraft, etc. etc…..for some reason it’s seems to be a perennial case of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”8 Nov 2022
Sparkieflyer makes the point that Virgin has/will have more efficient aircraft – but as have the competitors of course thus no advantage there.
The Indian hub is also becoming increasingly threatened by the increasing strong and competitive locally based airlines that are starting to enjoy a good following also in the UK With that under pressure and HK gone there is nothing much left other than the Americas which could be easily passed to Delta.
Cape Town however is the one bright point as perfectly fits the say 70% leisure 30% business profile of the airline and is one of its rare recent success stores. (While Johannesburg most certainly dose not but will survive on business traffic) However there are very few other African destinations that can support a full service high overhead operation as is Virgin thus I see further expansion there difficult
The pull out from HK and lack of routes in Asia -‘ where there are several (7 or 8) destinations that perfectly fit the above profile to me defies logic and has Delta’s (who don’t know Asia) fingerprints all over it.
Could it be that Delta is already in the driving seat at Virgin ?9 Nov 2022
We were told on a recent trip that there will be 4 new routes.
I said I hoped some of them would be in India. I was told not.
Sao Paulo will be one of them, and I think Seoul.
Not sure about the other two..
They have the slots
London Heathrow S23 slot news:
Virgin Atlantic have bought 24x weekly slots from KLM (times are local)
1605d – Mon-Fri
1835d – Mon-Fri
2025d – Sun
2055d – Sat
1500a – Mon-Fri
1710a – Mon-Fri
1735a – Sun
1925a – Sat pic.twitter.com/2CSYwATEFy
— Sean M 🌈✈ (@SeanM1997) November 8, 20229 Nov 2022
If indeed Seoul is one of the ‘new’ routes to me it makes little sense as a destination as although I know and like Seoul it is hardly a tourist destination for Brits upmarket or otherwise. It would have some business traffic but is not a recognised tourist destination and to me it looks like another fail. There is of course Delta who started a daily flight there last Month at the same time as Virgin canned HK !!9 Nov 2022
Cwoodward my point abouyt more efficient planes is there is a lower cost now versus an A340-300 which may have plied a given route before but because of its relative inefficiency a route was dropped. So now such a route may be more viable and profitable.
dutchyankee in your earlier post comparing Brazzaville and Kinshasa business traffic and you said that there were more J class passengers getting off at Brazzaville than Kinshasa, so I suspect a route planner at BA or VS will be more attracted to the former!
But with Luanda formerly being a very profitable route for BA and now that the oil price is high again, a triangle routing capturing traffic to both markets would I think be very lucrative.
Thank you Tom for adding that info on new slots from KLM and likely new routes. I did wonder following your flight review of the VS A330neo to Tampa if you managed to speak with senior VS people/CEO and get some new route insight!
I wonder if San Diego might be an option for VS. Very high prices on BA, a former 744 route and would complement other VS routes already operated by VS and DL.
Re Brazil for the same reasons I wanted Virgin to join Skyteam I do hope Latam join very soon – especially given their now close partnership with Delta.9 Nov 2022
I am not entirely convinced re London-Seoul.
Yes it’s a Skyteam hub and pre-pandemic it was a useful gateway to Japan. In pre-pandemic times KAL would feed regional Japanese airports from Incheon just as KLM feeds the UK regions via Schiphol.
But it is a long and complex route to operate.
This report we published recently concerns Finnair to Tokyo.
But at the end of the piece we embedded a video showing the route a London-Tokyo B787 flight had to take last August.
Just look at the way the flight twists and turns over mainland China.9 Nov 2022
I think that’s true – it’s a difficult route to operate at the moment.
A friend is there on business this week and his options were few and far between.
In the end it was Qatar via Doha, but of course when you are going for a meeting and spending only 24 hours there, having to break the journey makes it very difficult to sleep, since each leg is around 7 hours there and back, and you have time sitting in the lounge waiting for the connection.9 Nov 2022
central -South America look like good possibilities for Virgin.
As ‘sparkieflyer’ mentions mentions San Diego look like a good prospect….if Delta allow it.
I was there for a weekend with one of my sons about 5 years ago and it had a lot to offer- very civilised and calm for an American city.10 Nov 2022
If new routes are going to be launched for summer 2023 I suspect they will have to be announced very soon in order to market them and so customers can start planning.
However some routes may be more appropriate or profitable to launch for a Northern winter season – for example Male or Sao Paulo.
Rumour has it that Delta will take over the Austin route from VS, enabling the latter to focus on other markets.
My wish list is quite long but realistically hope for the following
Nairobi to work closely with KQ
Other thoughts could be Bogota considering Latam have a mini hub there (less likely in short term but do think it would prosper)
And how about Kolkata (Calcutta) as there would be no direct competition?
Any other rumours out there?15 Nov 2022
Correct. 2023 is drawing closer and I suspect airlines are still evaluating their networks for next year.
Certainly that is what Norse Atlantic has told the public as this Oslo-based carrier has released only some of its routes for 2023.
But would VS wish to work closely with KQ in view of its unprofitability ?
Years ago, as I have reported many times, KQ sold its one and only LHR slot for US$75 million. That sum was a record and it still stands today. KQ later leased its LHR slot from KLM. (I don’t know about today, though).15 Nov 2022
Kenya Airways have been unprofitable, however although they perhaps were a bit gullible with Boeing salespeople, they have also been unlucky with some terrorist attacks in the country, then Covid not only impacting on travel and tourism from Europe, but also one of their biggest markets – China, which remains now.
I feel with tweaking the schedules KQ and VS van both ply the route to Nairobi to tap into their extensive African network and give Ethiopian some competition. Bear in mind ET has no Star Alliance partner now in UK, and BA only fly into Nairobi in that region.
Re routes to/from US – could Cincinatti be an outside bet? I recall back in the day Delta flew to LGW and is also a pharma centre?
1 user thanked author for this post.16 Nov 2022
It is over 15 years since I was last in KInshasa so I cannot make any meaningful comment on it in terms of visiting nowadays. It does remind me of the trivia question about which are the only two pairs of capital cities where you can sit and observe another capital city. KInshasa and Brazzaville are the first pair. The other pair of course is Rome and Vatican City.16 Nov 2022
Maldives and Turks & Caicos have just been announced, more to follow…17 Nov 2022