Virgin inks Air China deal

Virgin Atlantic Airways has agreed a new reciprocal codeshare deal with Air China (CA) to enable its passengers to enjoy codeshare connections between the services of the two carriers.

Effective on flights from 1 July 2006, the agreement with Air China means that Virgin Atlantic passengers will be able to purchase flights between London Heathrow and Beijing, complimenting Virgin Atlantic’s daily flights into Shanghai.  Air China will codeshare on Virgin Atlantic’s daily services between London Heathrow and Shanghai. Tickets will be on sale from 15 April 2006.

In addition to the codeshare agreement a frequent flyer miles deal will be in place, which means that Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club members will earn miles when they travel with Air China.  Air China’s Companion frequent flyers will also earn miles when they fly on Virgin Atlantic’s services.

Willy Boulter, Virgin Atlantic’s Commercial Director, said:
“We are delighted to announce this new codeshare agreement with Air China.  It will offer passengers greater flexibility for their travel to and from China, together with fantastic value and excellent standards of service throughout their journey.

“Virgin Atlantic was the first UK airline to offer direct flights between London and Shanghai in July 1999 and has flown around 400,000 passengers on the route since then.  We look forward to welcoming more passengers onboard this year and further expansion in China in the future.”


Chris Humphrey, Country Manager of China at Virgin Atlantic added:

“This codeshare deal is the ideal compliment to our daily services between Shanghai and London - currently the only daily service between mainland China and the UK.  Also, by linking the frequent flyer programmes of both airlines, we will be able to provide our passengers with even more benefits and choice.”

Virgin Atlantic currently flies daily between London Heathrow and Shanghai Pudong Airport. The VS250 departs Heathrow at 14.30 arriving into Shanghai at 08.45 the following day. The return flight VS251 departs Shanghai at 10.55 arriving into Heathrow at 16.15 the same day.

Since it was founded 21 years ago, Virgin Atlantic Airways has become Britain’s second largest carrier, serving the world’s major cities. Now based at London Gatwick, London Heathrow and Manchester airports, Virgin operates long haul services to twenty-six destinations worldwide as far reaching as Las Vegas, Dubai and Sydney.

Cai Jianjiang, Executive Vice President of Air China commented:

“We are so pleased to cooperate with Virgin Atlantic Airways. I believe that through our joint efforts, we will provide more choices and high quality services to the travelling public.

“Air China always takes passenger-oriented service policy and endeavours to provide safe, fast, convenient and satisfactory air passenger transport services to our customers. The cooperation with Virgin Atlantic is one of the important steps of Air China to fulfill its strong commitment in this regard.”