If you have ever seen a Virgin Atlantic aircraft, you know that they only operate widebody Jumbo-Jets. Although the airline is one of the biggest in the United Kingdom, they currently operate flights to virtually everywhere except within the UK itself. Starting March of next year, this will change as Virgin Atlantic will begin short haul domestic service within Great Britain.
Virgin Atlantic announced today that they will begin service from Manchester to London Heathrow next year. The new short haul service will begin in March and will provide a strong direct competition to British Flag Carrier, British Airways, on the route. British Airways currently has a monopoly on the some 600,000 passengers that fly this route each year. This route also signals the beginning of the airlines plan to establish a strong regional network within the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. This will allow other communities to connect to it’s highly acclaimed long haul services.
Virgin Atlantic, owned by the infamous Sir Richard Branson, currently offers long haul flights to Las Vegas, Barbados, and Orlando from Manchester. The vast majority of its long haul flights however are based out of London Heathrow.
Currently the airline only operates widebody Jumbo-Jets, specifically the Boeing 747 and Airbus a330′s & a340′s. So, what will they use on the short 1 hour flights from Heathrow-Manchester? Virgin Atlantic will utilize single-aisle Airbus a319′s. No word yet on where they are coming from. Virgin America currently operates the type on flights throughout North America.