British Airways & Virgin Atlantic A350s Perform Heathrow Dual Runway Takeoff

British Airways & Virgin Atlantic A350s Perform Heathrow Dual Runway Takeoff

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The United States’ travel bans have ended as of today, and British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have partnered to celebrate this in a special way.

Two special flights from London to New York

While British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are ordinarily fierce competitors, the airlines came together this morning to commemorate the return of transatlantic travel to the United States. This is the first time in over 600 days (since March 16, 2020) that Brits have been allowed to travel to the United States.

This special celebration included British Airways flight 1 (BA1) and Virgin Atlantic flight 3 (VS3). The use of the “BA1” flight number is especially noteworthy, since that used to be the flight number for the Concorde, but it’s just being used today as a one-off, given the special occasion.

Both flights are being operated by Airbus A350-1000s, and departed at 8:30AM. The two flights are currently “racing” to New York JFK, and it remains to be seen which flight will arrive first.

The United States’ reopening its borders to Brits is a massive development for both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, given that the United States is the largest foreign market for both airlines.

British Airways & Virgin Atlantic are celebrating together

These flights had a dual runway takeoff

Not only were BA1 and VS3 scheduled to fly from London to New York at the same time today, but the two A350s performed a dual runway takeoff. This means that at the same time the Virgin Atlantic A350 took off on runway 27L, while the British Airways A350 took off on runway 27R.

British Airways & Virgin Atlantic performed a dual runway takeoff

You can listen to the air traffic control audio of this below. As you can hear, the two flights received individual takeoff clearances, and then they were separately given a “roll command” to actually takeoff.

https://twitter.com/LiveFromALounge/status/1457684801255723008

Below is a cool video that fully captures the dual runway takeoff.

https://twitter.com/SkyNews/status/1457652867800522757

Bottom line

It’s a big day for transatlantic travel, as the United States’ travel ban against many European countries has ended. Airlines are obviously very excited about this, given the huge increase in demand we’ll see as a result.

To celebrate, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operated special A350 flights, which were the carriers’ first flights to the United States under the new rules. Both airlines had 8:30AM flights to New York this morning. These flights even had dual runway takeoffs at Heathrow, which is something you don’t otherwise ever see.

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  1. flying100 Gold

    WOW you can always work together even if you are a competition.

  2. DCharlie Guest

    Were their take-off rolls choreographed because that was one of the slowest take-off rolls for the A350-1000 that I have seen. I am also surprised that a better resolution video could not be made available.

  3. Morgan Gold

    This is so cool, well done BA and VS!

  4. Sam Guest

    I'm confused by this. Didn't the travel ban end weeks ago? Was britain not included when the ban on Europeans was lifted?

  5. Stanley Guest

    Hi Lucky. Would it not actually be since March 16, 2020?

  6. Weymar Osborne Gold

    Damn. I'm not even British and that brought a tear of pride to my eye. Welcome back to our dear British friends!

  7. D3kingg Guest

    Does this mean American will return to using glassware on their only International First class routes currently to Heathrow ?

    1. BA4Luv Guest

      Yes. BA001 and VS003 (1 and 3 - 13) taking off today, both on A350's (2 airplanes) signifies that AA will now be launching glassware in premium cabins on 11NOV (13-2=11!)

  8. Nate nate Guest

    Weren't there flights between the US and UK every day even before this ban ended? Not sure why this is a big deal.

  9. Creditcrunch Gold

    Such a great day and I read that NYC is lighting up with a special light show tonight.

    1. Hobbs Guest

      Those are just muzzle flashes.

  10. Douglas Frost DeNunzio Guest

    The correct company quote of the day is an old question of how an airline functions when it happens a few times!

  11. Peter Guest

    Ben, did you figure out why business class was not bookable on BA1 when you first wrote about this flight a while ago?

  12. Mike Guest

    Wow! This is probably one of the most exciting and captivating things I’ve seen as an AvGeek. I almost laughed watching how it all played out in the video. Looks like the Virgin pilots pulled a bit harder on the stick during the climb out. And like always, it’s a wonderful treat to observe the colorful diversity of airlines from all over the world that fly to Heathrow in the background. It’s great to see the US reopening!

  13. MIchael R Karpiel Guest

    VS3 won. Arrived in JFK at 11:01am EST
    BA1 arrived 6 minutes later at 11:06am EST

  14. John Guest

    VS3 won, coming in 9 min earlier...

  15. Jan Guest

    This is pretty cool, not gonna lie

  16. Hank Tarn Guest

    I find it offensive that they both celebrated reopening travel to America using x2 European Airbus. Why could they not use Boeing 787?

    A very rude gesture and a front to America.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Maybe because they're Europeans and not American?

      This is why MAGA will never work. You can't just Amricanwash everything into USA.

      N.B. Technically, native Americans never built commercial airplanes so Boeing is just another European (German) immigrant plane.

    2. Mike Roles Guest

      European Pride, we all know that the A350 is far superior to the 787

  17. Eskimo Guest

    What would be cool, if JFK would be in on it too, is to land 31L 31R at the same time too.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      And it didn't happen.

  18. Brodie Guest

    VS3 is currently on track to win this race.

  19. Stuart Guest

    As a geek that is officially the coolest thing I have seen in months. What a sight to behold.

  20. warms the cockels Guest

    Awww, that was cool to listen to and watch, a nice way to start the week.

  21. LVairbnbhost Guest

    I’ll be at McCarran (Harry Reid!) at 2pm to watch the first Virgin Atlantic flight land. Curious if they’ll do a water cannon salute.

    1. pstm91 Platinum

      I hope not. I'm really not trying to be a downer, but I've always viewed a water cannon salute as absurd, and an enormous waste of water. I think some sort of greeting ceremony (with flags, etc) looks better.

    2. LVairbnbhost Guest

      I agree. Not so much hoping for one as curious if they’ll do one. And especially w the water woes here in the desert, it’d be a bad look. (That said, a few years ago I was on a final flight for a retiring AA pilot and the water cannon salute from inside the plane? Pretty cool!)

    3. Eskimo Guest

      Unless Greta owns Virgin Atlantic, not having a water canon salute is an insult. Not giving a retired pilot a proper send off they deserve is an insult.

      Last year was the year for pilot retirements. I've flown on 4 of them, only 1 time was unpleasant because I had a tight connection. :(

      If anyone view it as waste of water, then throwing any ceremony is a waste of something.
      Global warming? Ever...

      Unless Greta owns Virgin Atlantic, not having a water canon salute is an insult. Not giving a retired pilot a proper send off they deserve is an insult.

      Last year was the year for pilot retirements. I've flown on 4 of them, only 1 time was unpleasant because I had a tight connection. :(

      If anyone view it as waste of water, then throwing any ceremony is a waste of something.
      Global warming? Ever consider how much energy cryptocurrency wastes? Ether and bitcoin all time high. Little Greta should be all over this and not COP26.

    4. Airfarer Gold

      Happened on my flight ORDDCA a couple of months ago. Only one I've been on. His brother was a captain for Delta and was in the cockpit (are we allowed to say that now?) with him.

    5. ViewsFromTheRamp Guest

      For those concerned that a water canon salute is a waste of water, every ARFF at a commercial airport is required to test spray their trucks once per day. The fire fighters would much rather do a salute than just spraying at a target next to the fire house.

    6. Eskimo Guest

      @ViewsFromTheRamp
      You can't convince these environmentalist anything. They will keep coming at you forever.
      Totally agree that they need to do safety test everyday.

      But look at whaling. Even for scientific purposes, they still complain. What makes you think these salute will get special treatments.

      You just can't reason with Greta.

    7. flying100 Gold

      'You can't convince these environmentalist anything. They will keep coming at you forever.'
      Absolutely.

      When it comes to having fun with fireworks they don't have a problem with the environment even if it produces more C02 than Diesel cars.

      https://www.inverse.com/article/33365-fireworks-pollution

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Eskimo Guest

Unless Greta owns Virgin Atlantic, not having a water canon salute is an insult. Not giving a retired pilot a proper send off they deserve is an insult. Last year was the year for pilot retirements. I've flown on 4 of them, only 1 time was unpleasant because I had a tight connection. :( If anyone view it as waste of water, then throwing any ceremony is a waste of something. Global warming? Ever consider how much energy cryptocurrency wastes? Ether and bitcoin all time high. Little Greta should be all over this and not COP26.

2
flying100 Gold

'You can't convince these environmentalist anything. They will keep coming at you forever.' Absolutely. When it comes to having fun with fireworks they don't have a problem with the environment even if it produces more C02 than Diesel cars. https://www.inverse.com/article/33365-fireworks-pollution

1
flying100 Gold

WOW you can always work together even if you are a competition.

1
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