Virgin Atlantic is to expand its services to Jamaica later this year with the launch of new flights between London Gatwick and Kingston using Virgin’s 451-seat Boeing 747-400 aircraftThe move comes after a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Air Jamaica and Virgin Atlantic, and follows Air Jamaica’s decision to cease operations between the UKand Jamaicaso as to concentrate on its core routes. The new twice-weekly service will start on 30th October 2007 and be in addition to Virgin Atlantic’s twice-weekly services between Gatwick and Montego Bay. The new services will double Virgin’s capacity between London and Jamaica to 190,000 seats a year and ensure that British visitors continue to have the best access to Jamaica, with more flights and choice than any other airline.
Kingston will be Virgin Atlantic’s 30th destination on its global network and the airline’s eighth Caribbean destination. Virgin Atlantic flights will provide a further boost to the region’s economy, with tens of thousands of passengers expected to take advantage of the new services.
Virgin Atlantic flight VS69 will leave Gatwick on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, arriving around lunchtime each day in Kingston, while flight VS70 will depart Kingston on Tuesday and Saturday evenings, arriving into Gatwick on Wednesday and Sunday mornings.
Virgin Atlantic is also announcing a new codeshare agreement with Air Jamaica, in which the airline will place its code on Virgin Atlantic flights operating to and from Kingston, as well as Montego Bay. In turn, Virgin Atlantic will add its VS code to internal, connecting Air Jamaica flights between Montego Bay and Kingston. The new codeshare agreement adds to the existing cooperation between Air Jamaica and Virgin Atlantic which includes links between the two carriers’ frequent flyer schemes, 7th Heaven and Flying Club.
Steve Ridgway, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“All of us at Virgin Atlantic are excited about strengthening the relationship with Air Jamaica so that we can offer an expanded service to this beautiful country. With four flights a week from Gatwick to Kingston and Montego Bay, more than any other airline, and a wider codeshare agreement, we will bring Virgin Atlantic’s legendary onboard service to all Jamaicans. We already have a big commitment to the Caribbean and have a strong relationship with the local people and the tourist industry, which will benefit enormously from our expansion.
“We look forward to working more closely with Air Jamaica to develop the routes between Londonand Jamaica. We intend to offer a comprehensive network of connections between our three UK airports - Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester - and Jamaica via our US and Caribbean gateways, and in future we will look to build up connecting traffic via Jamaica to other points in the Caribbean region.
“We also intend to increase the frequency to Montego Bay as soon as possible, as we take delivery of new aircraft including the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner which we recently ordered.”
Flights between Gatwick and Montego Bay will continue to operate every Monday and Wednesday. Air Jamaica’s convenient and frequent flights between Montego Bay and Kingston will give travellers two weekly connecting flight options between Kingston and Gatwick in addition to the new non-stop services. The cooperation between Air Jamaica and Virgin Atlantic will also give travellers heading to Montego Bay a choice of four flights a week thanks to the codeshare connecting flights via Kingston as well as the non-stop services.