Monday, 19 November 2012

Good Flight News For Scotland

Good news for Scottish tourism (and business) that Virgin Atlantic will launch multiple daily flights between London and Scotland from next March after it successfully bid for all the slots British Airways was forced to relinquish following its takeover of BMI.

BA and Virgin will now go head to head on flights between London Heathrow and Edinburgh and Aberdeen for the first time.

Virgin, which will lease aircraft with crew from a third party airline to operate its new domestic network, said further details would be announced within the next two weeks.

Virgin Atlantic's chief executive Steve Ridgway said: "We have fought hard for the right to fly short haul and take a strong challenge to British Airways within these shores.  For 28 years both airlines have battled for customers all over the world and it has meant that British consumers have ultimately had some of the world's best flying and lowest fares.

"This is the beginning of an exciting new era in Virgin Atlantic history and we now feel a responsibility to everyone that has supported us in this challenge. Passengers can look forward to a great short haul service with us but most importantly reap the benefits from the re-injection of vital competition we can provide on these routes."

The airline said the new routes, to launch around March 31, will complement its new Manchester to Heathrow route it is also introducing next year. Flights will be operated by a narrow-bodied A320.

BA, which already flies between Heathrow and Scotland, was forced to give up some of its take-off and landing slots from Heathrow to Edinburgh and Aberdeen as well as to Cairo and Moscow, for rival airlines following its takeover of BMI, which was the only other airline flying the same routes.

Lufthansa is believed to have been the only other airline bidding for the Heathrow to Edinburgh and Aberdeen slots, but Virgin lost its bid for slots to Moscow, which went to easyJet (see earlier story).
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