Greeting Virgin Altantic Airways’ inaugural flight from London Heathrow at Seattle-Tacoma on 26 March is the airline’s founder Sir Richard Branson. He then proceeded to present Lance Lyttle, MD Aviation – Port of Seattle, with a model of the 787-9 that will operate the route. The airline has taken over the service from partner carrier Delta Air Lines which ended flights the day previous to Virgin Atlantic’s inauguration. With Virgin Atlantic taking over Delta’s 767 service, and the UK carrier using 787-9s on the 7,699-kilometre route, means that Virgin Atlantic will be offering 53 more seats daily one-way on the city pairing.
- Virgin Atlantic Airways commenced its newest route from London Heathrow (LHR) on 26 March, a daily 787-9-operated service to Seattle-Tacoma (SEA). The UK carrier has taken over from partner carrier Delta Air Lines on the 7,699-kilometre route, with the SkyTeam carrier having ended services on the airport pairing the day previous to Virgin Atlantic’s inauguration. Virgin Atlantic’s services on the 787-9 will increase the annual capacity on the route by more than 40,000 seats according to Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger who spoke at the inaugural ceremony. With Virgin Atlantic taking over the route from Delta, it will add 53 extra seats daily one-way on the rotation, resulting in 38,690 additional annual seats according to anna.aero’s data elves, just short of the 40,000 quoted by Kreeger. “The Seattle market fits better with the Virgin brand,” said Kreeger. “Seattle is a young, entrepreneurial, innovative, outdoorsy risk-taking kind of city and when you think of the element of the Virgin Atlantic brand and who we attract, it just seems like a great fit.” Virgin Atlantic will face direct competition on the route from UK flag carrier British Airways which offers 12 weekly flights on the city pair. Seattle-Tacoma becomes Virgin Atlantic’s ninth US route from Heathrow, with it joining the likes of Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York’s JFK and Newark, San Francisco and Washington Dulles. The airline also serves Las Vegas and Orlando from London Gatwick and Manchester, along with short seasonal services from Glasgow and Belfast International.