Virgin Atlantic Airways has arrived for the first time in Dubai, the airline’s 26th destination worldwide and its first Middle Eastern route. It is a key business and leisure destination for Virgin Atlantic as Dubai is the second biggest long haul route out of London, while London is the most popular long haul route out of the United Arab Emirates. The direct flights between Heathrow and Dubai will operate four times a week, which will increase to five a week from 1 May and daily from 1 June and will be on an Airbus A340-600.
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“I am delighted Virgin Atlantic has finally arrived in Dubai, Virgin Atlantic’s first destination in the Middle East. This new service underpins our strong commitment to the business traveller. We are delighted to be extending choice between the two cities and can’t wait to introduce daily services from 1 June. Dubai is the second largest long haul route out of London and we are confident that we can make big in-roads into this market targeting 10% market share in our first year of operation.
“I have visited Dubai many times in recent years and I’ve been so impressed with its commitment to further development and its innovative approach. Not only has Dubai successfully established itself as the key travel hub of the region but also as a major business centre and popular holiday destination in its own right and its popularity continues to grow.
“Passengers travelling on Virgin Atlantic will enjoy the award-winning Upper Class Suite, the longest fully flat bed in business class in world aviation. The consumers of the United Arab Emirates are among the most discerning in the world and we are sure that the Upper Class Suite won’t fail to impress.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum for helping Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays to achieve its goal of starting operations to Dubai. I would also like to thank the Sharaf Group for helping Virgin Atlantic to set up our operations in Dubai.”
Amanda Wills, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, said:
“Dubai has already proved an extremely popular destination with our customers and we have seen sales grow enormously over the last year. Virgin Atlantic’s new service, along with the key ingredients of guaranteed sun, sea and sand make it the perfect holiday destination! It already offers some of the most stunning new hotels in the world that we have included in a dedicated brochure to Dubai and even more amazing hotels, leisure resorts and amenities are currently being built.”
John Lloyd, Director of Cargo for Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“Dubai is a leading air cargo hub, both in its own right and as a major transshipment point between Europe and the Far East. It is a dynamic market from both a passenger and cargo perspective and is one of many destinations we had earmarked for our future growth.”
From 27 March services to Dubai (flight VS400) will depart from Heathrow on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 21:00 and arriving in Dubai International Airport at 07:10 the following morning. Return flights to Heathrow (flight VS401) will depart Dubai on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 14:35 and arrive into Heathrow at 19:10. From 1 May an additional weekly service will be added on Sundays from Heathrow returning from Dubai on Mondays. From 1 June daily services will commence.
Flights will be operated on Airbus A340-600 and A340-300 aircraft fitted with the Upper Class Suite.