Virgin Atlantic Launching Flights From Edinburgh

Virgin Atlantic Launching Flights From Edinburgh

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The pandemic has caused airlines to rethink route planning, based on travel restrictions and the lack of business demand. We’ve seen airlines try all kinds of new routes, so here’s an example of that from Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic’s Caribbean expansion

Virgin Atlantic has announced four new routes, two of which are out of an all new airport for the airline. Specifically, Virgin Atlantic will launch the following four routes in the coming months:

  • Edinburgh (EDI) to Barbados (BGI) 2x weekly with Airbus A330s; flights launch December 2021
  • Edinburgh (EDI) to Orlando (MCO) 2x weekly with Airbus A330s; flights launch April 2022
  • Manchester (MAN) to Montego Bay (MBJ) 3x weekly with Airbus A330s; flights launch November 2021
  • London (LHR) to St. Lucia (UVF) 3x weekly with Airbus A330s; flight launch December 2021
Virgin Atlantic’s new routes

What I find most interesting here is the new flights out of Edinburgh, Scotland. Historically Virgin Atlantic has primarily operated out of London and Manchester, though the airline has also operated seasonally out of Belfast and Glasgow, with a limited schedule. This is the first time that Virgin Atlantic will operate long haul flights out of Edinburgh, though.

As you can see, Virgin Atlantic is starting slow, though, with just 2x weekly flights out of Edinburgh this winter. In terms of logistics, my guess is that the planes and crews used for the Edinburgh flights will just be part of a larger rotation in Barbados.

Virgin Atlantic’s Barbados flights out of both London and Manchester are operated by A330s, so I’d guess both planes and crews will fly something like London or Manchester to Barbados to Edinburgh to Barbados to London or Manchester.

That seems much more efficient than having a dedicated plane in Edinburgh for just twice weekly flights, or having to deadhead crews there.

Could Virgin Atlantic’s Edinburgh base last?

As Virgin Atlantic is rebuilding its route network, there’s understandably a focus on the Caribbean:

With that in mind, the Edinburgh route additions make a lot of sense. I’m curious to see if Virgin Atlantic expanding to Edinburgh is a temporary addition while there aren’t many other great options for the airline, or if this kind of service can last. Virgin Atlantic doesn’t exactly have a huge fleet, so the airline has to work harder than some others to prioritize the most profitable long haul routes.

Edinburgh has historically had some service from all of the “big three” carriers in the United States, so it’ll be cool to watch how this evolves. Could Virgin Atlantic also eventually have a bigger presence there, or would that come at the expense of too much service in London and Manchester?

The only time that Virgin Atlantic has ever flown to Edinburgh is with its “Little Red” subsidiary back in the day. Between 2013 and 2015 Virgin Atlantic operated A320s on some regional routes in order to provide feed for the long haul network. That didn’t last very long, unfortunately.

Virgin Atlantic will fly A330s from Edinburgh

Bottom line

Virgin Atlantic has announced four new routes, with a focus on the Caribbean. What I find most interesting about this new service is Virgin Atlantic adding operations out of Edinburgh, which is an all new city for the airline. It’s awesome to see Virgin Atlantic thinking beyond London and Manchester. Only time will tell how this plays out.

What do you make of Virgin Atlantic’s new Edinburgh service?

Conversations (14)
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  1. Alan

    Absolutely delighted to see this given EDI is my home airport! Hopefully these routes stay around and more follow as I've got a decent stash of VS points and vouchers to use!!

  2. Paul

    EDI-MCO will be very popular but pricing has to be competative. VS flew GLA-MCO previously and had great success with the 747-400 and A330 fleets.

  3. WB

    Surely they will have to drop some routes. During Covid, Virgin retired their 8 747-400's and their 4 ex-airberlin A330's, both of which were used on leisure routes. They have also launched three routes to Pakistan (which are currently 11x weekly frequencies). As far as I know, VS only has some A350 deliveries down the line for the 747 replacement, so they will have to cut some routes down the road once traffic starts to...

    Surely they will have to drop some routes. During Covid, Virgin retired their 8 747-400's and their 4 ex-airberlin A330's, both of which were used on leisure routes. They have also launched three routes to Pakistan (which are currently 11x weekly frequencies). As far as I know, VS only has some A350 deliveries down the line for the 747 replacement, so they will have to cut some routes down the road once traffic starts to pick up. Could we maybe see them order more A350/787 aircraft?

  4. Omar

    EDI-MCO is guaranteed to fail. T-minus 3-2-1.

  5. KJ

    Curious! Didn't Virgin pull out of St Lucia approximately 2 years ago,apparently due to the St Lucian goverment refusing to subsidise the London services?
    What has changed?

  6. Mr stephen goldie

    Hi there I feel it would be great as I know that there is a New York flight as well as Dubai flight as I have only been on European flights from there and I would be happy to try them myself.

  7. PW

    VS have also announced a 2x weekly LHR-Nassau, Bahamas service as of this coming NOV 20th, currently scheduled using a 787, with ticket sales having started today...

  8. JB

    Back before covid, you used to be able to see up to 5 Virgin 747's at MCO at once! At the peak of summer, they had 3 flights to Gatwick, 2 to Manchester, and one to Belfast and Glasgow, all on 747's. 5 of them would overlap in their turnaround at MCO. I once saw 6 there as well (one flight was delayed).

  9. Jaizer77

    Reading the tweet from Virgin, currently still taking bookings for 2022 from Glasgow but customers will be contacted to change flights, as they are pulling out of Glasgow.
    Whenever I priced up MCO there was a marked increase in the direct price where as united, American, aer lingus seemed to provide a more cost effective way to travel same as BA but with the added extra of being able to clear customs and immigration...

    Reading the tweet from Virgin, currently still taking bookings for 2022 from Glasgow but customers will be contacted to change flights, as they are pulling out of Glasgow.
    Whenever I priced up MCO there was a marked increase in the direct price where as united, American, aer lingus seemed to provide a more cost effective way to travel same as BA but with the added extra of being able to clear customs and immigration at Dublin, Jfk, phl or ewr as opposed to Lhr or lgw. All in all, will be interesting to see what price point that the MCO route in particular shows.

  10. Creditcrunch

    For a number of years Virgin had a seasonal route from Glasgow to Orlando, in the press release from Virgin Trade they indicate customers will be advised of the new departure airport so I assume there will be an EDI-MCO route once the US open up.

  11. malibu69

    They used to fly scheduled charter flight out of Glasgow to Miami or orlando with the 747-400 with VS flight code

  12. CNKTod

    Edinburgh is not quite a totally new city for Virgin, they used to operate their ‘Little Red’ service to Heathrow out of here. But interesting to see them operate wide bodies out of there for the first time!

    1. Ben Schlappig

      @ CNKTod -- Thanks, great point! Updated the post to reflect that.

    2. Jojo

      Also they don’t exclusively operate out of London and Manchester; they still operate a summer seasonal Belfast - Orlando service (which was cancelled because of Covid)

Featured Comments Load all 14 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Alan

Absolutely delighted to see this given EDI is my home airport! Hopefully these routes stay around and more follow as I've got a decent stash of VS points and vouchers to use!!

Paul

EDI-MCO will be very popular but pricing has to be competative. VS flew GLA-MCO previously and had great success with the 747-400 and A330 fleets.

WB

Surely they will have to drop some routes. During Covid, Virgin retired their 8 747-400's and their 4 ex-airberlin A330's, both of which were used on leisure routes. They have also launched three routes to Pakistan (which are currently 11x weekly frequencies). As far as I know, VS only has some A350 deliveries down the line for the 747 replacement, so they will have to cut some routes down the road once traffic starts to pick up. Could we maybe see them order more A350/787 aircraft?

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