Virgin Atlantic has announced that it has been offered all of the London Heathrow short-haul remedy slots available following International Airline Group’s acquisition of bmi. The airline said that its business case was based on one airline operating a package of remedy slots so that it could mount a credible challenge to BA’s short-haul flying to Heathrow.
Steve Ridgway, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Executive, said: “We have fought hard for the right to fly short-haul and take a strong challenge to British Airways within these shores. For 28 years both airlines have battled for customers all over the world and it has meant that British consumers have ultimately had some of the world’s best flying and lowest fares.
“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. Passengers can look forward to a great short-haul service with us but most importantly reap the benefits from the re-injection of vital competition we can provide on these routes.”
Over the next two weeks, Virgin Atlantic will work to finalise its plans for utilisation of the available remedy slots and to confirm a flying timetable. The airline will primarily focus on its flying between Scotland and Heathrow, running multiple daily flights from Edinburgh and Aberdeen to London Heathrow. Flights will commence around 31st March 2013 and complement the new Heathrow to Manchester route the airline is also introducing next year.
Virgin Atlantic will be working with a wet lease partner to provide narrow body A320 aircraft to operate these short-haul flights.