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Virgin Atlantic offered Heathrow slots

Destination Expert
for Barbados
posts: 14,389
reviews: 154
Virgin Atlantic offered Heathrow slots

Virgin Atlantic has been offered the rights to operate Heathrow links to Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Sir Richard Branson's airline bid successfully for the London landing slots formerly operated by BMI.

The slots were released to others by regulators as a condition of allowing the takeover earlier this year of BMI by British Airways' owner IAG.

Virgin Atlantic intends to start operating the new services from the end of next March.

BA already flew between Heathrow and Scotland in competition with BMI, and the European Commission ruled that the London airport's scarce and valuable slots had to be released to other airlines for links to Edinburgh and Aberdeen, as well as Cairo and Moscow, where BMI and BA had formerly competed.

Virgin Atlantic is to lease Airbus A320s from another operator on its new routes.

Its first move into short-haul flights began last August, when it announced a new route between Manchester and Heathrow, building on an often bitter, 28-year rivalry between British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

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We have fought hard for the right to fly short-haul”

Steve Ridgeway

Virgin Atlantic chief executive

The only other airline known to have put in a bid for the slots was Aer Lingus.

Steve Ridgeway, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said: "We have fought hard for the right to fly short-haul and take a strong challenge to British Airways within these shores.

"This is the beginning of an exciting new era in Virgin Atlantic history and we now feel a responsibility to everyone that has supported us in this challenge."

The airline is to finalise its timetable plans over the next two weeks.

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said the new regular service would provide choice for travelling to Heathrow and open up a new set of onward destinations for passengers.

Scotland's Transport Minister Keith Brown said it was a welcome announcement for both passengers and the air industry.

Mr Brown added: "The detail will be worked out over the next couple of weeks but we are pleased that the European Commission has taken note of the need for both Edinburgh and Aberdeen to be served and that Virgin Atlantic will now be able to operate from two of Scotland's most important cities."


I can see a major tussle between BA/VS on the route from March 31st, 2013.

Liverpool, UK
posts: 9,341
reviews: 14
1. Re: Virgin Atlantic offered Heathrow slots

"I can see a major tussle between BA/VS on the route from March 31st, 2013."

Will be fun to see how this develops as BA & VA have never been friends - anything that provides flyers with more choice and hopefully cheaper fares as a result of competition has to be welcomed.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 15,888
reviews: 5
2. Re: Virgin Atlantic offered Heathrow slots

I read somewhere a few weeks ago (I think it was Cranky Flier when discussing their LHR-MAN service) that if VS takes over these routes then after 3 years they can keep the LHR slots without the obligation to run the LHR-EDI and ABZ routes.

So perhaps a way to get extra long haul slots in the long run? It would explain why they're (wet?) leasing the metal.

Edited: 9:42 am, November 19, 2012
Destination Expert
for Barbados
posts: 14,389
reviews: 154
3. Re: Virgin Atlantic offered Heathrow slots

Very valid point US Business Traveller. VS has always been keen to get more long-haul flights....Hawaii has always been mooted as has increased service to JFK/EWR.

Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
posts: 9,009
reviews: 222
4. Re: Virgin Atlantic offered Heathrow slots

And as a valuable feeder to his International flights

Destination Expert
for Livigno, Lombardy
posts: 39,160
reviews: 127
5. Re: Virgin Atlantic offered Heathrow slots

that's good news as it'll probably bring down prices.

6. Re: Virgin Atlantic offered Heathrow slots

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