Aviation News

Virgin Atlantic to launch long-haul flights from Scotland; expands in the Caribbean

Virgin Atlantic today announced its expansion plans in the Caribbean. The airline has announced plans to launch long-haul flights from Edinburgh, Scotland as well as expansion plans in the Caribbean.

Long-haul from Scotland

Starting 5th December 2021, Virgin Atlantic will offer 2-weekly flights between London Heathrow Airport and Bridgetown/Grantley Adams Airport. Additionally, twice-weekly services to Orlando from Edinburgh will commence in April 2022. Bookings for these flights will start from 18th August 2021.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said:

Commencing international flights from Edinburgh marks an exciting new chapter for Virgin Atlantic and we couldn’t be happier to be flying from a new home in Scotland. I know our teams are itching to show Edinburgh the Virgin Atlantic spirit and flair we’re famous for. Our two new routes provide an array of holiday options to suit everyone. From family fun and the thrills of Orlando’s theme parks to the stunning beaches and chilled out vibes in Barbados, we’re confident there’s something to love for all of our Scottish customers.

As the gateway to the highlands, the new services from Edinburgh Airport will provide travellers from Florida and the Caribbean with a direct link to Scotland’s fascinating historic capital city, alongside easy access to the country’s dramatic, world-famous countryside.

Additionally, with Virgin Atlantic’s interline partner Caribbean Airlines, travellers can get easy connections to Grenada, St Vincent and Tobago.

The airline’s announcement to launch long-haul flights from Scotland is clearly a big win for Edinburgh Airport. Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said:

A premier city like Edinburgh deserves premier airlines and we are extremely excited to welcome our newest partner Virgin Atlantic to Scotland’s capital city. To be able to deliver flights to Barbados, Scotland’s only direct route to the Caribbean, and Orlando is a fantastic boost to us as we prepare for the post-Covid recovery, and it is a huge show of confidence in Edinburgh Airport’s ability to deliver for passengers across the country. We look forward to the new routes launching and watching passengers head off on the holiday of a lifetime from Edinburgh Airport with Virgin Atlantic.

The new routes mark the first time Virgin Atlantic has flown international flights from the Scottish capital in its 37-year history and is Scotland’s only direct flight to the Caribbean. Fares will start from £419 per person.

Graeme Dey, Minister for Transport, said:

I welcome this news of Virgin Atlantic’s commitment to Scotland, and the launch of their new service to Barbados from Edinburgh. It is encouraging to see airlines develop their connectivity to Scotland at this time and I am sure this news will be welcomed by passengers.

Virgin Atlantic will be joining its joint venture partner, Delta Airlines, at its new home in Scotland. Delta currently flies to both New York and Boston from the Scottish capital, with additional partners Air France and KLM operating services to both Paris and Amsterdam.

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Manchester to Jamaica

Virgin Atlantic has also announced a new seasonal route between Manchester and Montego Bay, Jamaica. Starting 6th November 2021, the airline will fly 3-times-a-week between Manchester International Airport and Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport.

Juha Jarvinen said:

We’re thrilled to announce that we have added Jamaica to our portfolio of destinations flying from Manchester, our home in the north, along with increasing frequency to Barbados. We are seeing a real demand from our customers in the northwest for luxury holidays in the sun as they are keen to escape on their next adventure after a challenging year. Both Jamaica and Barbados offer the ultimate getaway for those looking to enjoy island life, from hiking incredible waterfalls, surfing at white sand beaches, exploring distinct local caves, to swimming with sea turtles, the tropical island’s offer something for everyone. We look forward to welcoming customers heading off on holiday or travelling to visit their loved ones back onboard.

These seasonal flights will be operated by the carrier’s Airbus A330-300 featuring 31 Upper Class, 48 Premium and 185 Economy Delight, Classic and Light seats. Return economy flights will start from £428 per person.

Karen Smart, Managing Director, Manchester Airport, said:

It’s wonderful to see Virgin Atlantic further increase its flying programme from Manchester Airport this winter, making a further commitment to the North. We look forward to supporting Virgin Atlantic with launching these new flights this winter, knowing Jamaica and Barbados are popular destinations for our customers.

Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica, said:

We are heartened by Virgin Atlantic’s decision to begin offering a new airlift service between Montego Bay and Manchester, England this November. This thrice-weekly flight will be a great addition to the numerous new and returning flights the island has been welcoming this year, as we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic. We look forward to warmly welcoming British passengers from Manchester starting this November, to enjoy a truly unforgettable Jamaican experience, in an environment which is safe, seamless and secure.

Additionally, Virgin Atlantic will be increasing its Heathrow services to Jamaica, from 3-flights-a-week up to daily flights.

London Heathrow to St. Lucia

As of 18th August 2021, Virgin Atlantic will once-again operate 3-weekly flights between London Heathrow Airport and St. Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport.

On the expansion of its services in the Caribbean, Juha Jarvinen said:

The Caribbean is such an important destination for us and for our customers and we couldn’t be more excited to announce our new routes, as we continue to grow our ever-expanding portfolio. We know customers are keen to get away on their next adventure after a challenging year and these Caribbean destinations offer the perfect escape for those travellers looking to either simply relax or explore a new corner of the world. For customers based around the UK, we are also thrilled to be able to offer additional routes from both Edinburgh and Manchester. Commencing international flights from Edinburgh marks an exciting new chapter and I know our teams can’t wait to show Edinburgh the famous Virgin Atlantic spirit and flair.

In addition to its Caribbean expansion, Virgin Atlantic is also expanding its services in Hong Kong and India. For the remainder of August, the airline’s Mumbai route will be operated by an Airbus A350-1000, the largest in the airline’s fleet, which will increase capacity by 30%. Meanwhile from September, capacity to Hong Kong will rise by 80%, with 4 additional weekly flights and an A350 flying direct.

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic recently increased flights to the Caribbean in response to strong travel demand. The airline is also once again operating flights from London Heathrow’s Terminal 3. The carrier has reopened its Clubhouse Lounge at New York JFK for the first time since the pandemic began. Virgin Atlantic has also announced that it will launch nonstop flights between London Heathrow and Bahamas.

Featured image by Virgin Atlantic

What do you think of Virgin Atlantic announcing new long-haul flights from Scotland and its expansion in the Caribbean? Let me know in the comments section below.

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