While Virgin Atlantic continues to be on the brink of collapse as the airline looks for new investors, that’s not stopping the company from doing some network planning for the future.
With the summer of 2020 expected to see very little travel, Virgin Atlantic has just published planned routes for the summer of 2021.
Virgin Atlantic’s summer 2021 flying program
Last week Virgin Atlantic announced a significant restructuring, as the airline plans to retire all Boeing 747-400s, pull out of Gatwick Airport altogether, and lay off around 3,150 staff.
Virgin Atlantic is retiring the 747
Given that the airline is scaling back, Virgin Atlantic will also have to adjust their route network long-term to account for that, and today we have a glimpse of what that will look like.
With this new schedule, a vast majority of Virgin Atlantic flights will operate out of Heathrow, with a significant flying schedule out of Manchester as well, and even some summer seasonal flights from Belfast and Glasgow.
Now let’s take a look at the routes that Virgin Atlantic hopes to operate as of March 28, 2021 (the new schedule is expected to be on sale as of May 16, 2020).
Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow flights
In the summer of 2021, Virgin Atlantic will operate flights from London Heathrow to the following destinations:
- Cape Town
- Hong Kong
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- Montego Bay
- New York JFK
- San Francisco
- Tel Aviv
A few interesting notes:
- Virgin Atlantic is maintaining all current US destinations, with the exception of Newark (though Virgin Atlantic pulling out of Newark was previously announced)
- All of Virgin Atlantic’s Caribbean flying used to be out of Gatwick, and a surprising amount of it is being maintained with the shift to Heathrow
- Tel Aviv is a new destination for Virgin Atlantic as of 2019, and the airline will fly there twice daily next summer
Virgin Atlantic is increasing flights to Tel Aviv
Virgin Atlantic’s Manchester flights
In the summer of 2021, Virgin Atlantic will operate flights from Manchester to the following destinations:
- Los Angeles
- New York JFK
Virgin Atlantic will fly to four US destinations from Manchester
Virgin Atlantic’s Belfast & Glasgow flights
In addition to key routes out of London Heathrow and Manchester, Virgin Atlantic will also offer summer seasonal flights from Belfast and Glasgow to Orlando.
Virgin Atlantic will fly to Orlando from four gateways
While this presumably remains highly subject to change, it’s interesting to see what Virgin Atlantic’s future route network looks like without 747s and without Gatwick.
The airline is maintaining all US destinations (though presumably with reduced frequencies), and is also maintaining quite a bit of Caribbean service, which was previously operated out of Gatwick.
I’m surprised by how few destination cuts there are, given the extent to which the airline is shrinking. I guess that means we should expect big frequency reductions in some markets.
What do you make of Virgin Atlantic’s summer 2021 schedule?