Virgin Atlantic Secures All LHR SlotsBack to Forum
Anonymous18 Nov 2012
Still looking for a link to an article, but regardless, I can confirm Virgin Atlantic have been named as the winner in the race for the 12 bmi remedy slots. There will still be two weeks of discussions with the EU to thrash out the details, but it seems that the deal is virtually done.
This means VS will most likely operate up to 12 returns a day to Edinburgh or Aberdeen, however Moscow, Nice, Cairo and Riyadh are all routes allowed using the slots.
The aircraft used will be secured from a wet lease partner, but the aircraft will have Virgin branding (looks great!) and be A320 family.
VS may well still get the rights to Moscow as SRB lobbied the Kremlin, offering huge investment in telecoms in return for traffic rights. The result is due by year end.
This means, with Manchester, that come March, Virgin Atlantic will be operating up to fifteen short haul flights a day from Heathrow, up from zero now…wow!
Great news, can’t wait to see the product!18 Nov 2012
Love it, the usual Virgin cock and bull spin:
“We have fought hard for the right to fly short haul and take a strong challenge to British Airways within these shores”
Virgin has always been able to fly short haul out of Heathrow. The EU is a completely open air market. It has just chosen not (or did not have the cashflow) to buy slots at Heathrow, of which there have been PLENTY available (e.g. bmi). Other airlines seem to have no problem paying for slots when they want (e.g. all the US and Gulf airlines)
In fact Virgin used to fly to such luminary business destinations as Athens and Maastrict. Way back when, Virgin also flew to Moscow IIRC, en route to Tokyo. The flights never lasted then, and they won’t last now. Like the name of its first inflight magazine, it’s all Hot Air
There is certainly no way I’m going to waste my time and money fly a non-alliance airline with a handful of flights per day for my business flights. At least bmi was (a) part of Star Alliance and (b) generally reliable and frequent on domestic trunk routes19 Nov 2012
I will be “wasting my time and money” on this service if experience to date is anything to go by. LHR-MAN @ GBP155 on BA versus GBP 68 on VS for similar flight timings – and 750 miles into my VS account to boot – kerching!19 Nov 2012
Cityprofessional, yes, of course VS has been able to fly short haul in the EU, but tell me, why would an airline spend tens of millions on slots only to make a loss on the flights, like most EU aitlines do. Your examples of Gulf airlines and US airlines illustrate this well, because those flights are highly profitable, so are worth investing in expensive slots for.
I also think it’s not a coincidence that VS are operating far more LHR flights this year, but these are long haul, again, because they are profitable.
As for the alliance…more on that another time!19 Nov 2012
It was announced a while back that Virgin had been beaten to the Moscow rights by Easyjet.19 Nov 2012
“mount a credible challenge to BA’s short haul flying to Heathrow”
12 Returns a day to Edinburgh or Aberdeen
3 returns a day to Manchester
I am sure Mr Walsh….with:
12 Flights a day to Edin from Heathrow alone,
11 flights a day to Manchester from Heathrow and
8 Returns to/from Aberdeen
is saying….BRING IT ON!19 Nov 2012
I’m all for Virgin offering competition on these routes, but the taxes and other costs make them very tight on margin, and wafer thin without an extensive transfer network, which Virgin simply doesn’t have.
It will be interesting to see how long the domestic operation lasts before Virgin uses the slots for either longhaul ops, or more likely leases out the slots which I believe is where the real value lies in this for them.19 Nov 2012
Hmm, for all the hot air around VS and its LHR slots, I have a very strong recollection of flying Virgin to BRU back in the 90s so it’s simply a case that the bearded one made choices about where he wished to deploy his slots – and UK feeder traffic or intra-European routes were not up there in his pecking order.19 Nov 2012
@AnthonyDunn, that was Virgin Express to Brussels – a Belgian airline, that’s now known as SN Brussels airlines. Nothing to do with Virgin Atlantic – they didn’t even codeshare
@LeTigre, if short haul flights are lossmaking, then why did Virgin apply for these slots in the first place, and why were they wasting 6 slots on a Manchester service even before this announcement? If they had no intention flying these in the long term, I wonder why they were awarded to VS…19 Nov 2012