Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced its expansion plans for the next year which will see the launch of direct services from London to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Services between London Gatwick and Jamaica will operate twice a week on a Boeing 747-400 aircraft from July 2006. Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, said:
Virgin Atlantic Airways plans to launch services to Jamaica following successful bilateral air services talks earlier this month in Kingston between the UK and Jamaican governments.
Subject to final approval from the Jamaican government Virgin Atlantic plans to launch two services a week between London Gatwick and Montego Bay. Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, said:
“Virgin Atlantic has wanted to launch services between the UK and Jamaica for some time and this new deal has given us the opportunity to do so. From next summer, passengers travelling between the UK and Jamaica will benefit from the increased competition, which will ultimately lead to better value for money and quality of service for passengers travelling on a route which has been dominated by British Airways.
“Virgin Atlantic began services to the Caribbean in 1998 with flights to Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua. In 2003 we launched weekly services to Grenada and Tobago and this summer we will launch services to both Cuba and The Bahamas.
“Our Caribbean routes have proved to be extremely popular with our passengers and our sister company Virgin Holidays is now the biggest scheduled tour operator to the region. Montego Bay will be Virgin Atlantic’s 28th route worldwide and its eighth Caribbean route.
“We would like to congratulate the British and Jamaican governments for reaching an agreement that allows this expansion of services to take place.”
Amanda Wills, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, commented:
“Virgin Holidays is the biggest UK tour operator to Jamaica, so this news will come with much delight for thousands of our holidaymakers in the UK. We already have a fantastic programme in Jamaica, however the addition of Virgin Atlantic’s new service will give our customers even more choice and flexibility of travelling with an award-winning airline. I am delighted to announce that we will be launching a stand-alone Jamaica brochure to support this new route. The brochure will highlight our continued support to Virgin Atlantic and the Jamaican Government whilst offering the most exciting range of holidays in the market.
Virgin Atlantic will fly to Montego Bay on Mondays and Wednesdays. Flights will depart Gatwick at 0900 and arrive at Montego Bay at 1250. Return flights will depart Montego Bay at 1550 and arrive at Gatwick at 0640. The route will be operated by a Boeing 747-400 with a configuration of 14 Upper Class seats, 58 Premium Economy seats and 379 Economy seats.