Virgin Atlantic Shuffles Its Long Haul Leisure Network

photo By Bruce Cowan - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
photo By Bruce Cowan - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

LONDON – Virgin Atlantic rejigs its International Long Haul Leisure Network after the airline announced the axing of its winter 2022-23 service from Edinburgh to Bridgetown, but restarts its London to Capetown flights in the same period. 

Virgin Atlantic Takes the Fight To British Airways

Virgin Atlantic this winter is poised to resume flights from London Heathrow to Cape Town for its winter 2022-2023 schedule. The airline will from the 5th of November fly the route daily using the 787-9 until ​​March 24, 2023. Virgin Already flies to Johannesburg from London year-round, thus complementing each other. 

The schedules will be as follows:

  • VS478 departs Heathrow at 16:20, arriving in Cape Town at 06:00 the following day
  • VS479 departs Cape Town at 0:750, arriving at Heathrow at 17:45

Virgin’s 787-9 offers three classes of travel, economy (192 seats), premium economy (35 seats) and Upper Class (31 seats).

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, said: “We’re incredibly excited to return to the fabulous city of Cape Town. Although a little later than we’d have liked due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the move reflects the fact that travel is recovering.”

With Cape Town being a leisure route, most holiday goers are eager to travel out of Britain after two years of hiatus.

Jarvinen added: “We’re expecting a high proportion of leisure travellers on this route who will rightly be taking advantage of the winter sun, exploring the world-renowned wine regions and soaking up the rich culture this incredible country has to offer.”

Photo: Heathrow Airport, British Airways Airbus A380 at take off, October 2013.
Photo: Heathrow Airport, British Airways Airbus A380 at take off, October 2013.

The re-launching of this route will add another 80,000 seats between Cape Town and London. This will also put pressure on British Airways which is already flying the route on a regular basis and is the main rival for Virgin Atlantic.

Barbados Gets Dropped

Meanwhile, the Barbadians weren’t too happy. The Barbados Tourism Marketing Ind (BTMI) was disappointed with the airline’s move. Virgin axe’s the Edinburgh to Bridgetown from its winter 2022-23 schedule. 

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “As we emerge from the pandemic we’ve had to make careful decisions about our network, continually reviewing flying and holiday schedules.

The spokesperson continued: “Unfortunately we have had to take the difficult decision to suspend plans to operate Edinburgh – Barbados services this Winter, with customers being contacted from this weekend to inform them of the cancellations and their options. We’re very sorry for disrupting customers’ plans, however, we know Barbados is a firm winter sun favourite and we will continue to operate services from Heathrow and Manchester.”

With that being said the airline will continue to operate to Barbados from Manchester three times a week and London regardless. 

Despite this, BTMI remains upbeat on prospects for next winter, as Scots are fond of Barbados. Instead, Scottish based passengers will fly to Bridgetown with Both Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic from Manchester, and British Airways from multiple airports in Scotland via London. 

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