Posts Tagged ‘Virgin Atlantic’


[BBC NewsVirgin Atlantic has unveiled details of its UK domestic service, including that the operation is called Little Red.

Sir Richard promised that Little Red will have a

Sir Richard promised that Little Red will have a “rock and roll spirit” Photo: Wikipedia

t will launch on 31 March in Manchester, 5 April in Edinburgh and 9 April in Aberdeen, providing a total of 26 daily services to Heathrow airport.

Virgin won key take-off and landing slots at Heathrow after the struggling carrier Bmi was taken over by British Airways’ parent company IAG.

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson said Little Red will go head-on with BA.

BA operates around 52 daily flights between Heathrow and Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. BA also runs services to Scotland from Gatwick and London City airports.

Virgin Atlantic hopes that Little Red, which will use Heathrow Terminal 1, will help feed traffic onto its international service operating from Terminal 3.

Sir Richard said on Friday that Little Red will “go head-to-head with BA to provide domestic flights that deliver Virgin Atlantic’s rock and roll spirit as well as real value for money.”

Read the original story at BBC News…..


BBC News
1st Mar, 2013



Heathrow Airport today announced that the new Terminal 2 will be home to STAR Alliance and Aer Lingus flights as well as Virgin Atlantic’s domestic routes when it opens in 2014.

The decision on which airlines will operate from the terminal follows a nine-month consultation with airlines which was prompted by the sale of bmi to IAG, the owner of British Airways.

The decision on which airlines will operate from the terminal follows a nine-month consultation with airlines which was prompted by the sale of bmi to IAG, the owner of British Airways. Photo Courtesy BAA Media Centre

The new Terminal 2 will give Heathrow the best passenger facilities of any major hub in Europe. 75% of passengers at Heathrow already rate their experience as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’ following the opening of Terminal 5 and the refurbishment of Terminals 1, 3 and 4 (up from 41% in 2006). The airline moves announced today would enable the early closure of Terminal 1 which would allow all passengers to travel through new or refurbished terminals from 2016.

The new terminal marks the latest phase of an £11 billion transformation of Heathrow. 20 million passengers a year will eventually use the new terminal, which consists of a main terminal building plus satellite building and aircraft parking stands. The £2.5billion development is the largest privately-funded construction project in the UK and has been delivered at no cost to the taxpayer. 35,000 people will have worked on the terminal over the lifetime of the project.

The decision on which airlines will operate from the terminal follows a nine-month consultation with airlines which was prompted by the sale of bmi to IAG, the owner of British Airways.

Since the review began in March 2012, Heathrow has met with airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority on a regular basis to agree the terms of reference and evaluation process and to listen to feedback. All the relevant data has been shared with all parties to ensure a fair and transparent process. Heathrow is required to treat all airlines equitably, and 18 separate options for the new terminal were considered and assessed against agreed criteria. The process has led to the decision that the following airlines will operate from Terminal 2:

STAR Alliance. The STAR Alliance network is one of three global airline alliances, and the second largest alliance operating from Heathrow. Its airlines currently operate from Terminals 1, 3 and 4. Globally, STAR has the highest number of member airlines, daily flights, and destinations of any airline alliance. Its airline members operating from Heathrow include: Aegean Air, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss International Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Thai Airways International, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways.

Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland and Heathrow’s fourth largest airline. Aer Lingus currently operates from Terminal 1.

Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic is the UK’s second largest long-haul airline with a fleet of 40 aircraft. From summer 2013, Virgin Atlantic will operate domestic routes from Heathrow to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen following the award of ‘remedy slots’ as a result of IAG’s acquisition of bmi. These flights will initially operate from Terminal 1 (where bmi was based) before moving to Terminal 2 in 2014. Virgin Atlantic’s international flights will continue to operate from Terminal 3. Heathrow will continue to work with Virgin Atlantic on how its services might be co-located in the future.

Heathrow is still in discussion with those airlines which currently operate from Terminal 1 and are not members of the Star Alliance (El Al, Icelandair, Cyprus Airways, Germanwings and Transaero), about their future location when Terminal 1 closes. We expect to conclude these discussions in early 2013.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Development Director, said:

“Terminal 2 will offer a significant improvement for passengers travelling through Heathrow. Providing all airlines and their passengers with great facilities is a key part of our vision for Heathrow. Terminal 5 was recently voted by passengers as the best airport terminal in the world and the opening of Terminal 2 will mark another major step forward.”


BAA Press & Media Centre
11th Dec, 2012



[FT] Damian Green, the immigration minister, has been summoned to explain a crisis  at border control to MPs after a spate of lengthy queues and increased waiting  times spread to Heathrow’s flagship terminal.

BAA “Immigration waiting times during peak periods at Heathrow recently have been unacceptable and we have called on the Home Office to address the problem as a matter of urgency.”

BAA “Immigration waiting times during peak periods at Heathrow recently have been unacceptable and we have called on the Home Office to address the problem as a matter of urgency.”

Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, told the Financial  Times that he had asked Mr Green to appear before the panel of MPs as reports of “chaos” at British airports gathered pace.

The delays are thought to have been caused by staffing cuts at the UK Border  Agency – which kicked in at the beginning of the new financial year – combined  with a Home Office ban on lighter passenger checks after a furore last summer in  which some border  officials relaxed security controls without ministerial permission.

“This is a very, very difficult state of affairs and it needs to be sorted  out quickly,” Mr Vaz said. “Either the [UK Border Force] needs to bring back  risk-based checks or it needs to hire more staff.”

The force is due to lose just under 20 per cent of its personnel by 2015 as  part of the government’s austerity drive.

Mr Green is scheduled to join officials from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic  and the British Airports Authority at a committee hearing in mid-May, where he  will be quizzed on what measures are in place to cut the……

Read the full article at Investors Chronicle….


By Helen Warrell,
Andrew Parker and George Parker
FT.com – 27th April 2012



[Brussels 27th April: Tax-News] Policies are needed that re-invest aviation tax receipts back into the industry  and to ensure that aviation is treated as an economic catalyst not a ‘cash cow’,  says the International Air Transport Association.

Last November, the heads of Easyjet, IAG, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic wrote to the UK government calling for APD to be scrapped entirely

Last November, the heads of Easyjet, IAG, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic wrote to the UK government calling for APD to be scrapped entirely

Pointing to the European Union’s (EU) decision to include aviation in its emissions trading scheme (ETS), IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler told the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Transport Symposium in Montreal that a globally-coordinated approach is needed to manage the aviation industry’s contribution to man-made CO2 emissions rather than a regional approach which “distorts markets”.

“Aviation has committed to three targets, the most ambitious of which is to cut net emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005. We cannot do that without government cooperation. As aviation is a global industry, that cooperation   must be coordinated through ICAO,” Tyler said. “That is why Europe’s inclusion of international aviation in its emissions trading scheme is counter-productive. it will not have the positive impact on sustainability of globally coordinated measures through ICAO. On top of that, the unilateral and extra-territorial   approach is seen by non-European states as an attack on their sovereignty.”

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme was extended to aviation activities from or to European soil on January 1, 2012, to provide a solution to taxing aviation emissions, which were excluded from the Kyoto Protocol. Under the ETS, airlines   operating into and out of the EU, regardless of how long that flight is in EU airspace, will be required to surrender varying emission allowances, and will be required to purchase any additional permits outside of their free allowance.

Airlines are required to immediately begin purchasing emissions allowances, but are only expected to remit the sums in 2013 meaning that Europe will have until April 30, 2013 – when airlines will be required to buy polluting rights   for 2012 – to decide whether to follow through with the penalties for non-compliance provided for in the EU Directive. In the event that airlines fail to comply, the European Union has said it will impose fines of up to EUR100 for each tonne   of carbon dioxide emitted without the payment of a permit, and eventually enforce an EU-wide ban on the offending airline.

Last month, the heads of some of Europe’s major airlines and aviation engine   manufacturers called upon EU leaders to take action and stop an escalating trade conflict with China and other countries opposing the ETS. The nine CEOs warned   that countries opposed to the ETS are preparing countermeasures and restrictions on European airlines, such as special taxes and traffic rights limitations. The letters were signed by the bosses of Airbus, Air Berlin, Air France, British Airways, Iberia, Lufthansa, MTU Aero Engines, Safran and Virgin Atlantic and   addressed to Prime Ministers David Cameron of the UK, Francois Fillon of France, and Mariano Rajoy of Spain, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Nobody wants a trade war,” said…..

Read the rest of this story at Tax-News…..


by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels
27 April 2012



[Australian Business Traveller] Virgin Atlantic will reveal its new ‘Upper Class Dream Suite’ business class seats this weekend, with the cabin’s first flight on the daily London-New York (VS003/004) service on April 21st.

Sir Richard Branson wants to give Virgin Atlantic's business class a lift

Sir Richard Branson wants to give Virgin Atlantic's business class a lift

Sources at Virgin Atlantic confirmed the launch date to Australian Business Traveller, with April 21st tied to the debut of Virgin Atlantic’s newest Airbus A330.

This will be Virgin’s first A330 fitted with business class, and will sport 33 seats over nine rows (in a mosty 1-2-1 layout) in the same space where the current A330s have 59 premium economy seats (arranged 2-3-2).

What Virgin Atlantic promises to be a “cutting-edge Upper Class cabin” will also include an updated bar design located by the entrance, a new in-flight entertainment system plus a refreshed “fine dining” menu, with an ‘express supper menus’ for lighter meals and quicker service.

“This is not just about the seat” says Virgin Atlantic chief operating officer Steve Griffiths.

“This is about creating a gap [with our competitors]. It involves new product, new in-flight entertainment and investment in the service. It will absolutely make Virgin Atlantic the best in class.”…..

Read the full story at the Australian Business Traveller….


By David Flynn
22 APR, 2012



A Virgin Atlantic incident earlier this week, in which 15 passengers had to be treated in hospital after an emergency landing evacuation, was due to “a number of alarms being triggered in-flight”, the airline has said.

All Gatwick flights were suspended for around an hour and 40 minutes while the drama involving the plane, carrying 304 passengers, was being played out

All Gatwick flights were suspended for around an hour and 40 minutes while the drama involving the plane, carrying 304 passengers, was being played out

Passengers spoke of people landing on top of each other after the Florida-bound Virgin plane was evacuated at Gatwick having had to turn back to the West Sussex airport on Monday.

Virgin said the crew of the Airbus A330 had taken positive action in line with procedures by returning to Gatwick and evacuating the plane which has now been certified for a return to service.

All Gatwick flights were suspended for around an hour and 40 minutes while the drama involving the plane, carrying 304 passengers, was being played out.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesman said: “We can confirm that the investigation following Monday’s incident on flight VS27 from London Gatwick is now complete. A full technical evaluation and systems assessment has been completed in conjunction with the airworthiness authorities and the manufacturer, and the aircraft has been certified for a return to service.

“The investigation identified that a number of alarms were triggered in-flight, in response to which our flight crew took positive action in line with procedures by returning to Gatwick and completing an evacuation of the aircraft.”….

Read the full story at the Press Association Google News page….


Copyright © 2012 The Press Association. All rights reserved.
(UKPA) April 21st 2012



[Telegraph] British Airways will pay just half the £121.5m fine it initially agreed to settle the long running Office of Fair Trading investigation into price fixing. 

British Airways will pay just half the £121.5m fine it initially agreed to settle the long running Office of Fair Trading investigation into price fixing.

British Airways will pay just half the £121.5m fine it initially agreed to settle the long running Office of Fair Trading investigation into price fixing

The reduced £58.5m fine comes after protracted negotiations between the airline and the OFT over allegations it colluded in price-fixing with Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson’s airline escaped punishment after blowing the whistle on the activity.

The reduced fine comes two years after a criminal case brought by theOFT against four former and current British Airways executives collapsed. It also follows a number of cases at the Competition Appeal Tribunal dramatically reduced fines handed by the OFT on separate cases.

Sources close to the OFT said the decision to reduce the fine from the figure agreed with BA in 2007 is a reflection of decisions taken by CAT and changed economic environment.

Ali Nikpay, OFT senior director of cartels and criminal enforcement, said: “The size of the fine underlines that it is important for companies to take steps to ensure that they have an effective compliance culture. The fine would have been higher still but for the co-operation provided by BA throughout the OFT’s investigation.

Without this, together with BA’s admission of the infringement, the case would have taken considerably longer to resolve.”

In 2007 British Airways was fined $300m (£187.4m) by the US Department of Justice over price-fixing of fuel surcharges with Virgin Atlantic between 2004 and 2006……

Read the full Telegraph story here….


By 
19 Apr 2012



A blaze on board a packed jet forced an emergency landing at Gatwick yesterday.

The 299 passengers and 13 crew on board were evacuated using escape slides in a drama that closed the airport for several hours. Fifteen required hospital attention, many with suspected broken bones. Scores of other flights had to be suspended, delaying thousands of passengers

Flights in and out of Gatwick were suspended for nearly two hours after the incident, which left 15 passengers with minor injuries

Flights in and out of Gatwick were suspended for nearly two hours after the incident, which left 15 passengers with minor injuries

  • Fifteen injured as fire extinguishers used to tackle blaze at rear of aircraft
  • Virgin Airbus A330 bound for Florida had to return due to ‘technical problem’
  • Flights in and out of Gatwick suspended as passengers escape aircraft
  • Incoming flights have been diverted, with some landing at Stansted
  • Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson tweets his apologies to those on board

The Airbus A330 turned back just 15 minutes into its flight to Orlando in Florida as smoke began to fill the cabin. Some passengers accused the staff of panicking as the aircraft landed and its emergency chutes were deployed.

Liam Moore, a passenger, said everybody was ‘really shaken up’.

‘Everything seemed fine,’ he said. ‘Then the pilot came on the tannoy just a few minutes into the flight and said we would have to do an emergency landing. It all happened so quickly. We landed and suddenly all the doors flung open and the emergency slides were inflated.

‘We then had to slide down the chutes, some people got cuts and grazes from the slide.

‘Police cars were flying up the runway. There were four fire engines, paramedics, a helicopter.’

Fire crews used powerful extinguishers to douse the flames as the Airbus stood on the runway. All flights at Gatwick were suspended, leaving thousands stranded and facing an afternoon of delays. The airport had been due to deal with 600 flights during the day.

Passenger Tom Alridge said one of the cabin crew panicked after the  plane touched down: ‘She was screaming like a banshee – “Get off, get off” – she was literally pushing people down the chute,’ he said.

‘Someone has a broken ankle, another guy hit his head when he went down the chute.’

Another passenger, Mark Bell, from Bracknell, told the BBC: ‘I knew something was wrong when we took off. The plane was really wobbly.

‘The cabin crew made things worse. They were all really panicked. We weren’t told anything other than we had to go back to Gatwick and make an emergency landing.

‘We circled the airport twice before the landing. We were told to evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.’…..

Read the full story at The Daily Mail….


By RAY MASSEY
17 April 2012



Emergency landings aside, it’s not Gatwick but Heathrow that’s giving Sir   Richard Branson such a pain in his undercarriage.

The Virgin king's got all revved up over how air traffic control in Brussels has simply "waved through" the takeover of bmi by British Airways

The Virgin king's got all revved up over how air traffic control in Brussels has simply "waved through" the takeover of bmi by British Airways

The Virgin king’s got all revved up over how air traffic control in Brussels has simply “waved through” the takeover of bmi by British   Airways-owner International Airlines Group.

He’s spitting decibels that the deal lifts BA’s share of Heathrow’s take-off  and landing slots from 45pc to 51pc, dwarfing lil’ ol’ Virgin Atlantic’s   3pc.

True, IAG now has a big chunk of a congested airport. But Branson’s only got himself to blame for that. Over the past decade, he’s had enough flypasts at   bmi to stop what’s just happened. But he’s refused to put his money where   his mouth is.

Taxi back to 2003 and you find Branson in merger talks with bmi’s then owner Sir Michael Bishop (now Baron Glendonbrook). The idea was to put Virgin’s long-haul business together with the largely short-haul Bmi – the then owner   of 14pc of Heathrow slots – to create a proper competitor to BA.

Those talks barely got airborne before the pair decided that not only didn’t they trust each other’s accounts, they pretty much couldn’t stand the sight   of one another either. Undeterred, Branson was still banging on to this   newspaper four years later that: “It has to make sense for the two   companies to work together. All the employees of Virgin Atlantic and bmi  would love to see it happen.”

Although always hard to tell with Virgin, Branson should have had the cash to  deal, having already taken £600m out of his carrier by somehow cajoling   Singapore Airlines to stump up for a 49pc stake. That was an aviation deal   only rivalled in its chutzpah by Bishop, who skewered Lufthansa into paying   £223m in 2009 for his majority holding in the loss-making bmi.

Bishop’s sale presented Virgin with a fresh opportunity to grab bmi and its  slots. Indeed, Lufthansa gave Virgin first run at it – before the German   carrier got bored waiting for Branson to produce anything resembling the   readies, and turned to BA….

Read the full story at The Daiky Telegraph……


Alistair Osborne

By 
16 Apr 2012



Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic is to launch a legal appeal against the British Airways acquisition of bmi from Lufthansa and demand that BA give up more slots at Heathrow.

Sir Richard Branson says the BA-bmi deal will mean less competition at Heathrow and lead to higher fares for passengers.

Sir Richard Branson says the BA-bmi deal will mean less competition at Heathrow and lead to higher fares for passengers.

Writing in today’s Sunday Telegraph, Sir Richard says that the deal will mean less competition at Heathrow and would lead to higher fares for passengers.

“One of the key aims of competition regulation is to protect the consumer from monopoly situations where companies can set whatever prices they like and stop investing in their product,” Sir Richard said.

“In this situation the public suffers, the industry suffers and the country suffers.

“That is why Virgin Atlantic will appeal the decision by the European Commission to wave through BA’s merging with bmi in just 35 working days.

“I truly cannot believe this directive and we will challenge every aspect of this process that, if allowed to stand, will undoubtedly damage the British airline industry for years to come.”

International Airlines Group, which owns BA, sealed the £172.5m deal earlier this year. The EC gave the purchase the go-ahead despite complaints from Virgin.

The EC did demand that BA give up some of its slots at Heathrow, remedies which Sir Richard said did not go far enough.

“This is the last big exchange of UK flying slots – 8.5pc of Heathrow’s total number – leaving BA with 54pc of all take-off and landing rights at the world’s busiest airport, while leaving its nearest British rival, Virgin Atlantic, with only 3pc,” he said…..

Read the full story at The Daily telegraph….


By , Sunday Telegraph Business Editor
9:30PM BST 14 Apr 2012