Economic effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that crippled the airline industry throughout 2020 and into 2020 continue to loom large…
Virgin Atlantic Announces Resumption of Additional Routes, Grows Caribbean Network
As demand slowly returns from the dramatic decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines are beginning to announce the recommencement of services. European airlines were particularly hard hit as restrictions went up across the continent and around the world. Virgin Atlantic chose to suspend passenger operations in April to focus on transporting cargo between the U.K. and the world. Now as restrictions begin to lift and people begin to travel again, the airline has announced the planned resumption of passenger services.
Previously, Virgin Atlantic announced plans to resume service at the end of July to three destinations. After announcing the end of service from London Gatwick, all flights from London will now be operated from Heathrow Airport. Beginning July 20, the airline will resume passenger flights from London to Hong Kong. Flights to Los Angeles and New York’s JFK will resume the following day.
The additional services announced by the airline will depend on government restrictions on travel. Beginning on August 1 the airline will resume flights to the Caribbean with flights to Barbados. This will be followed by flights to Shanghai and San Fransico on Aug. 4. The airline will round out August with flights to Tel Aviv, Israel; Miami; Lagos, Nigeria; Orlando, Florida and Atlanta. The resumption of flights to Orlando will also see the return of service to Manchester, England, the airline’s northern hub, and are dependent on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowing U.S. flights to occur from Manchester.
In September, Virgin plans to resume service to Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas and Boston. If all goes according to the airline’s plan, service will be resumed to all destinations the airline served in the U.S. before the pandemic began. Services to Newark, the airline’s first destination in the U.S., however, will not resume. Flights in September do not have a specific start date for the airline yet.
More Caribbean Flights and New Home
The following month Virgin will continue adding flights to the Caribbean. Flights will resume to Jamaica and Antigua. From Antigua, the airline will operate continuing flights to Grenada in addition to Trinidad and Tobago. To round out the new routes, the airline will also relaunch flights between Manchester and Barbados in October. Like flights in September, the flights in October do not have commencement dates announced yet.
When flights resume in July, the airline will not be at its usual Heathrow home. As part of cost reduction and to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Heathrow will only have Terminal 5 and Terminal 2 open for airlines. Virgin will operate from Terminal 2. Also, any plans to resume will be severely affected by the U.K.’s decision to impose a 14-day quarantine for arrivals into the country. Airlines across the country have criticized the government’s plans and are planning to challenge the quarantine in court.
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