UK Minister for International Trade Greg Hands MP, Deputy CEO Manchester Airport Collette Roche and Virgin Atlantic Airways CCO Shai Weiss posed on the apron to herald the start of the carrier’s new US routes from Manchester to San Francisco and Boston from 28 March.
Virgin Atlantic Airways brought the flavour of Cuba to the streets of London to promote the start of flights between London Gatwick and Varadero this week. Launched 2 April, the airline will operate weekly (Sundays) flights on its 747-400s between the two cities. The 7,434-kilometre sector is also flown by Thomson Airways.
- Virgin Atlantic Airways kicked off a major growth phase at Manchester (MAN), launching the first of a hat-trick of new long-haul routes to the US. On 28 March the airline waved off its inaugural three times weekly service to San Francisco (SFO), the first ever direct route to Northern California from the North of England. The following day it started a twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) route to Boston (BOS), which will compete with Thomas Cook Airlines’ twice-weekly operation. On 25 May, the airline will begin daily flights to New York JFK from Manchester, as it replaces the existing Delta Air Lines service. Virgin Atlantic’s CCO, Shai Weiss, commented: “We’ve been flying out of Manchester for over 20 years and today marks our biggest ever route expansion from the city. We want to offer our customers services to places they want to travel to and this summer, we’ll have 26% more seats out of the city than last year, cementing our commitment to Manchester and the Northern Powerhouse.” Charlie Cornish, MAG CEO said: “Virgin Atlantic’s commitment to Manchester Airport and its significant growth demonstrates the demand that exists for flights from the North to global destinations like San Francisco. Following today’s inaugural celebrations, we look forward to Virgin Atlantic’s other routes launching and supporting them on their growth journey at Manchester Airport.” Both US services will be operated by the carrier’s A330-300 fleet. In addition, on 2 April, the airline launched a weekly (Sundays) 747-400 operation from London Gatwick (LGW) to Varadero in Cuba (VRA). The airline will compete against UK leisure carrier Thomson Airways on the 7,434-kilometre sector, with it also flying weekly (Thursdays) to the Cuban destination.