Virgin Atlantic Eyes 84 New Routes From London Heathrow By 2026

Planning on making a video over this but… I guess I’ll knock out two in one by writing this to organize the ideas.

Virgin Atlantic Eyes 84 New Routes From LHR - with a twist.

Virgin Atlantic would like to launch 84 new routes “if the Government reforms the way new Heathrow slots are allocated to enable the creation of a second flag carrier at the airport” (TPG).

  • Heathrow plans on adding a 3rd runway which will increase the slots/capacity at the airport.
  • Virgin Atlantic currently serves 19 routes from its Heathrow hub.
  • The airline is intending on launching up to 84 new routes IF everything goes right.
  • Virgin Atlantic has launched a campaign asking for a substantial share of the slots in order to “seriously challenge British Airways at Heathrow”.
  • Virgin Atlantic argues IAG (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, etc.) owns 55% of takeoff/landing slots at Heathrow.

The Routes:

  • 12 destinations will be in the United Kingdom, 37 in Europe, and 35 in the other continents.

(Blue means new destination, Red means existing. Note this is from LHR only, not LGW)

North American Routes:

  • Vancouver
  • Calgary
  • San Diego
  • Austin
  • Denver
  • Chicago
  • Orlando
  • Mexico City
  • Toronto
  • Raleigh/Durham
  • Panama City

South America

  • Bogota
  • Lima
  • Santiago
  • Buenos Aires
  • Fortaleza

Africa

  • Accra
  • Cape Town
  • Addis Ababa
  • Nairobi

Asia

  • Beirut
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Karachi
  • Bangalore
  • Kolkata
  • Kunming
  • Xi’An
  • Beijing
  • Seoul
  • Singapore
  • Jakarta
  • Osaka
  • Tokyo Haneda

Oceania

  • Sydney
  • Auckland

(Yeah, I guess?.. A35K/777X?)

Existing LHR Routes

  • Seattle
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • Las Vegas
  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • New York JFK
  • Newark
  • Washington Dulles
  • Miami
  • Havana
  • Sao Paulo
  • Lagos
  • Johannesburg
  • Tel Aviv
  • Mumbai
  • Delhi
  • Hong Kong
  • Shanghai

2026 is still very far away, and everything is subject to change (environmental runway issues). This expansion would be amazing but seems rather… bold. They’re just “showing off” what they could do in order to gain as many slots as possible.

I wish Virgin Atlantic the best as this would increase direct competition with British Airways & Partners which would result in lower airfares.

Virgin Atlantic would have to order quite a few more aircraft to potentially cover “84 New Routes” and that potential Auckland/Sydney route…

What are your thoughts on this? Are you excited for any of these destinations?

Sources:

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Nice to see Raleigh Durham on the list! Hope they choose the 777X for future Oceania ops

This is really exciting! @Suhas @BadPlane @HelloSkyMan @Joshua_Kincheloe I see Austin on the list!

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This makes me happier than words can explain.

Best of luck to Virgin Atlantic and I hope everything works out in their favor!

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Also I wouldn’t be surprised to see AUS as one of their 1st new North American destinations because now they codeshare with delta and Austin is now a delta mini-hub

Definitely, not only do they have a codeshare agreement with Delta but they have an immunized Joint Venture, meaning they can freely share revenue between North America and Europe.

In a way, Austin sort of took my by surprise given the fact that British Airways has significantly increased capacity in recent years and Norwegian flies to Gatwick. Although, competing is their primary goal.

The relation with Delta is most likely the same reason Raleigh/Durham was looked at.

Wow, considering they have the Delta JV why did they not decide to fly to MSP also, I guess Delta’s daily 767 is enough. At least we get them here for DL TechOps contracting.

I mean… one of the key points of a Joint Venture is so the airlines can freely swap metal where a specific aircraft will perform best.

So… given that there’s theoretically supposed to be more slots, Delta could gain some and potentially launch another MSP-LHR flight, if they want to.

Are they planning on using flybe aircraft to fly within Europe or are they going to operate A320 again?

Auckland is a surprise I understand Sydney will be reachable soon but can they really reach as far as Auckland?

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My thoughts exactly. It’s about 900 miles longer than LHR-SYD… not sure if there will be an aircraft developed for that by 2026…

LHR-AKL has a rather interesting path, though.

image

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That path may work it’d still be a stretch imo would be interesting to see how that turns out.

That route would probably be Via Singapore or something along those lines.

Finally heading to YVR, eh?

Maybe I can hitch a ride on Virgin Atlantic one day.

Just one day…

Moscow is in Europe last time i checked🤔

this is some cool stuff happening right here for heathrow

That’s a bit ambitious IMHO!

Sorry about that, was running on 5 hours of sleep lol.

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This is pretty amazing! I love Virgin flights, a modern twist on good hospitality!

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