Virgin Atlantic is launching flights from London Heathrow to Manchester Airport in the airline’s first foray into the domestic market.
The new route, will be operated with three daily flights to Manchester using Airbus A319 aircraft, will commence from 31st March 2013.
Virgin revealed the new route signals the start of a new network which will provide regional feed to its long haul service as well as providing choice for point to point passengers.
“Flying between Heathrow and Manchester is just the start for Virgin Atlantic’s new short haul operation,” explains Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive, Steve Ridgway.
“We have the means to connect thousands of passengers to our long haul network as well as to destinations served by other carriers.
“Our new service will provide strong competition to overly-dominant BA; keep fares low and give consumers a genuine choice of airline to fly to Heathrow and beyond.”
Manchester is a key regional airport with over 65% of passengers to London connecting onwards to other destinations.
“Operating a London to Manchester route will provide an invaluable feed to our existing long haul network for both business and leisure passengers. It is the perfect introduction to short haul flights for Virgin Atlantic – we know that passengers travelling from Manchester connect onto destinations we already serve; including Boston,
Cape Town and Hong Kong. We changed the way consumers view long haul travel with our unique approach to flying and we are now in the position to do that to short haul travel too;” added Ridgway.
Virgin plans to apply for all of the remedy slots being awarded by the European Commission following the IAG takeover of bmi, but is using some of its existing slots to service the Manchester to London route.
The new Manchester route joins Virgin’s newly launched service to Mumbai and a sixth daily service to New York; both starting in October this year.