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Virgin Atlantic Pulls Out Of Vancouver Market

  • Air
  •   09-04-2014  2:25 pm

Virgin Atlantic Pulls Out Of Vancouver Market

Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced that it will not re-launch seasonal Vancouver- London Heathrow route for summer 2015. Vancouver is the only Canadian gateway to be serviced by Virgin Atlantic, and the last day of service on the YVR-LHR route will be Oct. 11 2014.

The seasonal service was launched in May 2012, and Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson paid a visit to Vancouver to commemorate the launch. Last year the airline announced increased capacity for the YVR-LHR route in 2014, adding a fifth weekly flight in its third season.

In an email to PAXnewsWest, Sarah Coggins, Virgin Atlantic Airways’ head of communications stated the overall announcement is in line with the airline’s plan to grow to record levels of sustained profitability by 2018.

“Building on its existing two year recovery plan, which is on target to deliver an annual profit by the end of 2014...we needed look across our entire network. It was a really tough decision, these are highly competitive times for the airline industry and in order to deliver sustained profitability and the best airline possible for our passengers, we need to deploy our aircraft on routes which are financially viable,” Coggins wrote.

“We have enjoyed great commitment from both our staff and customers in Vancouver. Nothing has gone wrong with the route but we are seeing a greater demand for other routes to and from London Heathrow,” she stated.

Virgin Atlantic’s network changes will deliver up to five new daily transatlantic flights and see over 500 more Virgin Atlantic flights operate in summer 2015 compared to summer 2014.

Virgin Atlantic plans to continue servicing the Canadian market via its joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines.

For Western gateways south of the border,  additional daily service will be added between London Heathrow and Los Angeles and capacity on the LHR- San Francisco route will be increased to five times per week.

“Vancouver is a great city and we were excited to launch our seasonal service here in 2012,” Coggins wrote. “However, we need to ensure that we operate on routes where our customers want to fly and through our partnership with Delta Air Lines, we believe we can still serve the Canadian market using the wide range of connection opportunities that are available to our customers. As a result of this partnership, we will continue to offer a seasonal one-stop service to Vancouver on Delta Air Lines connecting through Seattle or Minneapolis.”

“This has been a difficult decision for us and we are truly thankful for the welcome and ongoing support that Vancouver has given us – especially from the trade,” Coggins wrote.

 “In the future, if London Heathrow gains its long overdue expansion, we would love to fly from Vancouver again…hopefully we’ll be back one day if the capacity restrictions at Heathrow change.”