Virgin Atlantic Expansion Plans

Virgin Atlantic

Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic are making plans to spread their wings to 84 new destinations in their largest route expansion to date. These will be to destinations in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Australia, as it seeks to challenge British Airways market dominance in London.

“British Airways owns London not because of its tradition, service standards or marketing acumen, but because it controls the vast majority of slots at London Heathrow Airport. According to Virgin Atlantic, British Airways’ parent International Airline Group, or IAG, holds more than 55 percent of all of takeoff and landing rights at Heathrow, with no other carrier holding more than 5 percent.

That could change, though. Heathrow plans to open a new runway within the next decade, its third, and the airport’s capacity will increase. Virgin Atlantic on Wednesday launched a campaign to persuade regulators to award it more than its share of slots, so it can seriously challenge British Airways. If it receives all the new rights it wants, Virgin Atlantic , which now flies to just 19 destinations, said it could start 12 new routes in the UK, 37 in Europe, and 35 in the rest of the world. However, that kind of growth is far from a sure thing, since British Airways, as market leader, would get the bulk of the slots under current allocation rules. Not surprisingly, Virgin Atlantic wants to change those rules. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity presented to Virgin Atlantic once a third runway is built,” Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss told Skift recently in an interview in London. “Our ambition is to assume the role of Britain’s second flag carrier. That can only be achieved aided by changes in the way slots will be allocated.””  (

VA 1

Virgin Atlantic’s 84 New Destinations

“Virgin Atlantic wants to add 84 new destinations in the UK, Europe, and across the globe, in addition to their current 19 long haul destinations.

How would the 84 proposed Virgin Atlantic routes be distributed?

  • 12 would be domestic, including to Belfast, Glasgow, and Manchester
  • 37 would be European, including to Barcelona, Dublin, and Madrid
  • 35 would be global, including to Buenos Aires, Jakarta, and Kunming

Here’s a full list of the destinations they want to fly to, with the bolded ones representing routes they already fly”(

Aberdeen, Britain Abu Dhabi, UAE Accra, Ghana
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Amsterdam, Netherlands Athens, Greece
Atlanta, USA Auckland, New Zealand Austin, USA
Bangalore, India Barcelona, Spain Basel, Switzerland
Beijing, China Beirut, Lebanon Belfast City, Britain
Berlin (Tegel), Germany Bogota, Colombia Boston, USA
Brussels, Belgium Budapest, Hungary Buenos Aires, Argentina
Calgary, Canada Cape Town, South Africa Chicago, USA
Cologne, Germany Copenhagen, Denmark Cork, Ireland
Delhi, India Denver, USA Dublin, Ireland
Dusseldorf, Germany Edinburgh, Britain Exeter, Britain
Fortaleza, Brazil Frankfurt, Germany Geneva, Switzerland
Glasgow, Britain Gothenburg, Sweden Guernsey, Britain
Hamburg, Germany Havana, Cuba Helsinki, Finland
Hong Kong, China Inverness, Britain Istanbul, Turkey
Jakarta, Indonesia Jersey, Britain Johannesburg, South Africa
Karachi, Pakistan Kolkata, India Kunming, China
Lagos, Nigeria Las Vegas, USA Lima, Peru
Lisbon, Portugal Liverpool, Britain Los Angeles, USA
Luxembourg, Luxembourg Lyon, France Madrid, Spain
Manchester, Britain Mexico City, Mexico Miami, USA
Milan, Italy Moscow, Russia Mumbai, India
Munich, Germany Nairobi, Kenya Newark, USA
New York JFK, USA Newcastle, Britain Newquay, Britain
Nice, France Orlando, USA Osaka, Japan
Oslo, Norway Panama City, Panama Paris, France
Prague, Czech Republic Raleigh Durham, USA Rome (Fiumicino), Italy
Rotterdam, Holland San Diego, USA San Francisco, USA
Santiago, Chile São Paulo, Brazil Seattle, USA
Seoul, South Korea Shanghai, China Singapore, Singapore
Stockholm (Arlanda), Sweden Stuttgart, Germany Sydney, Australia
Tel Aviv, Israel Tokyo (Haneda), Japan Toronto, Canada
Toulouse, France Vancouver, Canada Vienna, Austria
Warsaw, Poland Washington DC, USA Xi’an, China
Zurich, Switzerland

VA 3


In the airline’s dream world, all of that changes.

“On Wednesday, it released a list of all the routes it could fly at Heathrow, including Aberdeen, Britain, Kolkata, India, and Kumming, China. While expansion to the largest European and global cities makes sense, some of Virgin Atlantic’s proposed routes seem far-fetched. For example, Virgin Atlantic said it could fly to Sydney, which would be the world’s longest route, too far for any current-generation airplane to fly nonstop. Virgin Atlantic claims it could provide competition on 26 routes where British Airways’ or one of its joint venture partners, such as American Airlines, is the only option. Overall, Virgin Atlantic said, International Airlines Group or its joint venture partners operate on 77 monopoly routes. Then again, even if regulators are receptive to Virgin Atlantic’s arguments, the airline is unlikely to win enough slots for every flight. Its announcement on Wednesday appears to be more of a negotiating ploy, with the airline assuring regulators it can challenge British Airways’ monopoly.”  (






Aviation Travel Writer: The Flight Times Blog








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