Virgin Atlantic announced today the launch of exciting new routes across three continents, with brand new aircraft. The mass network growth comes as the airline capitalises on the sustained demand for international travel.
The airline’s international route network will be boosted by its first move into South America, with a brand-new daily flight from London Heathrow to São Paulo, Brazil.
One of the most populous cities in the world, São Paulo is home to multinational businesses, providing corporate customers and business travellers the opportunity to fly in Virgin Atlantic style.
The city is famed as the foodie capital of Brazil, a bustling city offering a bounty of arts and cultural experiences, which will enthral experience hungry leisure travellers.
Brazil’s position as the number one import and export country in South America will also make São Paulo a popular cargo route.
With multiple tonnes of capacity each day, Virgin Atlantic expects to carry regular shipments of car parts, pharmaceuticals, food and agricultural products, which will significantly boost annual trade between the two nations.
Codeshare with South America’s LATAM
São Paulo is also a key hub in Brazil for Virgin Atlantic’s codeshare partner and South America’s largest airline, LATAM.
This codeshare partnership effectively provides customers with onward connections to 12 domestic airports in Brazil, including Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Florianopolis as well as offering earn and redemption options for Flying Club members.
Signalling a continued expansion in the country, Bengaluru (Bangalore) is to become the airline’s third destination and fourth daily service to India.
Since 2019, Virgin Atlantic has increased capacity to India by 250%, the airline’s largest area of growth outside the United States.
Launching in Summer 2024, the addition of this new route means the airline will offer 500,000 seats (total) each year between the UK and India, while its growing codeshare with IndiGo, India’s leading airline, flies to 34 destinations across the country.
Bengaluru is a rapidly growing tech hub and one of the largest corporate markets in India, whilst intrepid travellers will enjoy the city’s rich culture and beautiful gardens.
The new service will also provide seamless connectivity for long-haul customers connecting via London Heathrow to destinations throughout North America including Seattle, San Francisco and New York JFK, with Virgin Atlantic and transatlantic joint venture partner, Delta Air Lines.
‘Winter sun’ destinations
The airline is also introducing a raft of ‘winter sun’ destinations to its route network. Last week saw Virgin Atlantic announcing its return to Dubai, operating seasonally from October through to March four times a week.
The service restoration on increased holiday travel demand, but will also provide up to 20 tonnes of cargo capacity on each flight.
The news follows further new route announcements to the Maldives and Turks and Caicos, as well as inter-island flying in the Caribbean, between Barbados and Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Manchester Airport, the airline’s home in the North, is also set to receive new flights, with the relaunch of seasonal summer services between Manchester and Las Vegas, three times a week.
Induction of Airbus A350 and A330neo
The mass expansion of the airline’s route networks is further supported by the arrival of new ‘next generation’ aircraft to the carrier’s fleet.
The arrival of its two latest aircraft – the Airbus A350 and A330neo – contributes to an average fleet age of just 6.5 years.
The A330neo is 11% more fuel efficient than the aircraft it replaces and sets the standard for Virgin Atlantic’s fleet going forward. It offers a premium, personalised experience including a reimagined Upper-Class cabin with a unique Retreat Suite, alongside game changing wireless charging.
By the end of 2024, the airline will have received its full order of 12 Airbus A350s, as well as the arrival of a further four A330neos.
Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, commented: “We’re excited to announce a range of new routes across three continents, giving our customers the opportunity to fly in style with Virgin Atlantic.”
“From our entrance into South America, to our expansion in India and the growth of our premium sun portfolio, there is something for all of our customers to experience.
“By leveraging the power of our strategic partners, and welcoming our state of the art, brand new A350 and A339 aircraft, customers can rely on Virgin Atlantic to connect them to where they need to be.”
“Our plan is working, positioning us to return to profitability in 2024,” Weiss concluded.
Flights from London Heathrow to São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport will operate daily on the airline’s flagship Boeing 787-9, from 13 May 2024. Flights are set to be on sale from August, with fares starting from £655.
Flights to Bengaluru will operate on Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft from 31 March 2024, boasting 31 Upper Class, 35 Premium and 192 Economy Delight, Classic and Light seats, as well as the airline’s signature Upper Class social space.