Sir Richard Branson has landed in Edinburgh to celebrate the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s first ever domestic service, Little Red.
The new airline will carry up to a million passengers a year, create 375 jobs in the UK and generate £75 million in visitor spend for the Scottish economy.
Almost 30 years after starting his long haul service to shake up a stagnant monopoly market, Branson is now bringing that challenge to UK air travel by restoring competition on three routes which have faced a monopoly since the takeover of bmi by British Airways’ parent company IAG.
Little Red will be flying 26 domestic flights a day on Heathrow flights to and from Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
The launch will bring greater choice for consumers, with wider flight schedules, and competition in prices.
Virgin Atlantic is currently offering tax and charge only fares for travel on Little Red in May and June as a special celebratory rate.
Branson, president, Virgin Atlantic said: “Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Virgin Atlantic’s history. Our product, service and flair are known throughout the world, and we’re thrilled to be bringing that to domestic flying.
“Virgin Atlantic Little Red is the next step on our exciting journey, allowing us to offer a more connected network which will deliver sustained and effective competition at home and around the world.
“We’re really looking forward to welcoming on board millions of passengers between Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen and to restoring consumer choice on these routes.”
It was on the UK’s busiest route of London Heathrow to Edinburgh that Sir Richard officially celebrated Little Red’s arrival.
Greeted by deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, the airline confirmed its commitment to Scotland and said it expects to bring a quarter of a million visitors to the country - generating £75 million in revenue for the economy.