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.
- 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:
- San Diego
- Mexico City
- Panama City
- Buenos Aires
- Cape Town
- Addis Ababa
- Abu Dhabi
- Tokyo Haneda
(Yeah, I guess?.. A35K/777X?)
Existing LHR Routes
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- Las Vegas
- New York JFK
- Washington Dulles
- Sao Paulo
- Tel Aviv
- Hong Kong
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?