Virgin cancels Tokyo and Mumbai services

Virgin Atlantic has announced a number of route changes including five additional transatlantic flights and the cancellation of its Tokyo Narita and Mumbai services.

The airline will stop flying to Narita and Mumbai early in 2015 — the final flights to both destinations will depart London Heathrow on January 31, with the last return legs operating on February 1.

Virgin plans to operate a new service between London Heathrow and Detroit and extra daily flights from LHR to New York JFK, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Exact dates when these proposed changes will take effect have not been disclosed. A Virgin Atlantic spokesman said the carrier is in a “period of consultation”.

Next summer, the carrier will launch a seasonal (second) service from Heathrow to Atlanta and an extra daily flight will run between LHR and San Francisco.

Meanwhile, a “transfer of operations” with its joint venture partner Delta Air Lines will see Virgin fly a daily service between Manchester and Atlanta and Delta fly one of Virgin’s existing LHR to Newark services. Delta will next summer launch a new daily route between Manchester and New York JFK on June 2.

Virgin will cancel its Heathrow to Vancouver service at the end of this summer season on October 11.

Its winter seasonal service to Cape Town will operate as planned this winter but will not be renewed in 2015/16.

The new route from Heathrow to Detroit, the new services from LHR New York JFK, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, and the service from Manchester to Atlanta will all form part of Virgin’s joint venture with Delta Air Lines.

A statement said: “Across the joint venture, Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines will now offer ten daily services from London to the New York area, including eight daily services between London Heathrow and New York JFK, the world’s number one business travel route.”

The airline said it is on target to deliver an annual profit by the end of this year, following a two-year recovery plan.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger said: “Our ambition is to be profitable for the long-term, earn competitive returns, and invest those into providing the very best experience for our customers on the routes they most want to fly.

“Transatlantic flying has always been at the heart of our network and our most financially successful region.

“Today’s announcement allows us to play to our strengths and focus our network on routes between the UK and US, as well as other critical global destinations that are most important to our customers.”

The second daily service during the summer season from Heathrow to Atlanta, and the second daily service during the winter season from Heathrow to Miami are subject to regulatory approval.

Graham Smith

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  • It seems VS is becoming less and less relevant, and with the exception of Joburg, LOS and (for the moment) DXB, a purely transatlantic airline and subsidiary brand of Delta.

    With the multitude of Sky team carriers flying into London, and the opportunities working with these carriers present, it seems them are ignoring them and are now basically Delta UK.

  • Agree with sparkyflyer, VS clearly dancing to the Delta imperative. One would hope not, but it can only be a further steady drain on their brand distinction, in m view.

  • Second time they’ve tried and failed to crack the route to BOM. Should be noted by those in charge.

    With regards to NRT – weren’t VS meant to be moving to HND? Or is the TYO route now gone as a whole?

  • Virgin ATLANTIC changes its focus to the ATLANTIC.

    Otherwise DEL, DXB, HKG, JNB, LOS and PVG remain. I expect DXB, HKG and PVG will be the next to go. Longer term DEL, JNB and LOS might make sense by picking up connecting traffic from the states.

    Can’t see how they otherwise expect to compete profitably for premium business traffic on relatively low frequencies to relatively few far flung destinations.

  • Surprised at VS withdrawal from LHR/CPT, always thought their load factors were high.

    With SAA’s exit in 2012, BA is the last man standing unless you want to go via JNB (no thanks).

    Trebles all round at BA towers tonight I expect.

  • They should have the slots taken off them and another ‘British’ Airline should be given a crack at competing with BA on the routes.

  • Sad, but inevitable to see VS becoming another British poodle to an American pit bull. Is VS management also becoming as risk averse and lazy as their counterparts at Waterside?

    And BusinessBabble ……Although Vancouver is very much a Pacific city , the last time i was there, it was the Atlantic I crossed : ) And on a personal note I wonder if YVR was dropped to push transfer passengers onto Delta aircraft in the US…….I’m assuming this because YVR appears as a destination on Chelsea’s Ad boards !!

  • Inevitably, if you want to increase frequencies at LHR to some destinations, others have to be dropped. It’s a function of the lack of slots. Cape Town suffered because it needed two aircraft to sustain the route, and it doesn’t have the yields of Jo’burg (and has been getting cannibalised by Gulf carriers). Vancouver has virtually no feed at the distant end and isn’t high yielding. Narita reflects the shift of Tokyo travel to Haneda (and no slots for Virgin there either), as Virgin is the only carrier to Tokyo without any flights to Haneda from London (BA has one at each, JAL and ANA are all Haneda now). Mumbai is a surprise, but Jet Airways as partner can deliver that route.

    HKG is quite high yielding, DXB is fiercely competitive and has to be in doubt, the others are probably safe for now. VS has been bleeding for years, expansion partly driven by SRB’s ambition. Delta not tolerating it.

  • I don’t get your point canucklad, just because Virgin Atlantic appears to be focusing on flights across the Atlantic doesn’t mean they have to maintain flights to every city the other side of the Atlantic. Makes more sense for them to focus on cities where Delta have a presence to get the connecting traffic.

  • I think symptoms indicates downward for Virgin Atlantic and taken aback
    in regards to BOM and @ the same time Lufthansa starts A380 to BOM
    I sense a closeness to Delta as well.

  • I have been flying VA for over 20 years now but this summer our flight to LAX was with BA due to the cost being much cheaper (this was club world). Last night we booked to go to go LA for Christmas and new year and sadly have had to use BA again. VA are over thousand pounds more expensive and the chance of using some of the thousands of air miles we have accumulated over the years is next to nil. If it was a straight fight between Virgin and BA it would be no contest, Virgin every time, but hey a grand is a grand. They will continue to show an annual loss if they don’t compete with the other airlines.

  • Well for the record, I’m personally gutted and saddened that Tokyo (NRT) has been cancelled, I’ve been flying that route between 1-5 times per year. Sometimes business and sometimes PE. Rare occasion Econ (coach). Econ and PE were always near capacity full…

    Its the ONLY airline I’ve flown by choice for business & personal to Japan (except my early years I did awful just dire, biz on ANA (no flat bed, that tilted one) and economy on KLM … and once JAL… never again.

    Before I vent my anger: I believe some are saying its because foreign airlines are being moved to Haneda (HND) and BA has taken all the slots allocated for British airlines ?? This is really short-sighted.

    ANA and JAL just aren’t the same value for money on either air miles earned or paying your own way. BA just arrives at an unholy hour (again I hear not their fault, they couldn’t get later slots as Japanese airlines have first dibs).

    Sad day, very sad. Bar the major US cities, I cannot see why Virgin is singing to Delta’s tune (Delta is awful too, if my American friends’ stories are to be believed, the RyanAir of long haul within the US).

    Any petition to get Virgin flying into Japan, will get my name on the petition…

  • Morning BusinessBabble

    I fully appreciate your point about it making sense to serve airports where Delta has a presence. But that is my point. Virgin as an independent business entity are in danger of becoming reliant on an American Carrier. And experience tells us that the US aviation industry is at best unstable , and in fact volatile is properly a better adjective.

    And I’ll take Vancouver as an example. The economy in BC is booming and growth is relentless, and I’ve not even started to mention high end tourist potential.

    Yet Virgin have given up on the route, that in truth they never really invested in. And then you get Delta who don’t fly direct from LHR to this city, yet find it important enough to quote as a destination, through arguably their highest profile advertising and marketing medium.

    Now here’s the rub, I have to admit I was tempted by skyscanner’s EDI-YVR price quote of £651, and then I investigated the route.

    AF to CDG , DL to SEA and finally 24 hours later DL up to BC ….ehmmm No thanks !!
    I happily would have booked Wee Red through LHR and then VS over the pole. And take into account that the 2 incumbent carriers on that route are making a total hash of it?

    Just how bad has VS become, that they couldn’t make a go of YVR ?
    With Delta—Eggs & Baskets come to mind. VS should have joined Star !!

  • RHM Angel – BA only has one slot for Haneda, there isn’t another available for VS. Airlines aren’t being forced to abandon Narita, they are choosing to do so. FWIW I find ANA premium economy to be a delight and its business product is excellent (fully flat bed). Useful to contribute to *A Gold status as well.

  • Betrayal by virgin at best. Those that have been supporting virgin on the Tokyo Narita route for over a quater of century have just had this loyalty thrown in their faces all due to misguided virgin management who are lining the pockets of delta, who are the ultimate winners in this sad decision.
    The Hard working Japanese cabin crew who are restricted in their routing to Tokyo/London have also been hung out to dry. The virgin I have always respected and loved has lost a lot of that respect today
    As one poster wrote… Sad day indeed !

  • I’m not surprised at this at all. I flew business class with Virgin on the way back from Tokyo last Xmas after flying out on ANA. ANA was far superior, great seats, food and entertainment. Virgins plane was old, the food was so so and the inflight entertainment equipment was poor (just very old). I always flew Virgin to Japan but now will stick to ANA with their new aircraft and better service.

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