Oh, this is going to set the fire alight at Virgin Ataltic HQ, with the announcement today from UK Civil Aviation Authority, with them confirming that the spare London – Moscow operations slot will be issued to EasyJet over Virgin Atlantic
Citing the decision, part of the reason is due to the scarce capacity at Heathrow. The other reason? A different product.
“On balance, allocating scarce capacity to BA and Easyjet is likely to deliver the greatest benefit to consumers.”
“Easyjet’s proposal will introduce an innovative product into the market and has the potential to deliver the greatest dynamic fare benefits for consumers.”
EasyJet will operate its service from London Gatwick to Moscow Domodedovo with two flights a day, and an expectation to carry 230,000 passengers a year.
EasyJet’s CEO, Carolyn McCall says:
“We believe this is the right decision for consumers both in the UK and Russia. Russia has a fast-growing economy and is a country rich in culture and history.
“We believe that our flights will be popular with both business and leisure travellers alike. Easyjet has proved again and again that when we enter a new market we open it up – bringing in competition and lower fares and enabling more people to travel on the route.”
Meanwhile, fuming in the red corner is Virgin Atlantic
“Data shows that passengers travelling between Moscow and London use Heathrow airport and not Gatwick,”
“Long-haul connectivity is far greater via Heathrow and this decision will also reduce capacity between the two capitals which is not good for UK consumers.
“The flying that disappeared with Bmi’s exit from the route has not been remedied despite the European competition authorities identifying this very issue. Now there will be a major shortage of capacity for UK business travellers seeking to trade with one of the world’s fastest growing economies.”
Sometimes, Virgin acts like it has a primary right to do as it wishes, and get it multiple times over. Recently this hasn’t been the case (as with the sale of BMI and now the Moscow route).
It’s going to mix up the picture between London and Moscow with the following operating:
- Aeroflot – London Heathrow – Moscow SVO
- British Airways – London Heathrow – Moscow DME
- EasyJet – London Gatwick – Moscow DME
- Transaero – London Heathrow – Moscow DME
With a range of products depending on who you fly with.