It seems the influence of Delta is being made more apparent with Virgin Atlantic taking an axe to four of its long haul services that don’t serve the USA.
These include routes from London to:
- Cape Town (seasonal) last outbound on 26 April 2015 and the final flight from Cape Town to London on 27 April 2015
- Tokyo Narita, last outbound on 31 January 2015 and the final flight from Narita to London on 01 February 2015
- Vancouver (seasonal) last outbound/return on 11 October 2014
- Mumbai, last outbound on 31 January 31st 2015 and the final flight from Mumbai to London on 01 February 2015
Let’s not dance around the subject – this one heck of a cut to Virgin Atlantic’s long haul network. This leaves the following destinations from the UK that don’t go near the US or Caribbean:
- Hong Kong
Virgin Network map – http://vs.fltmaps.com/en/gb
Virgin Atlantic is trying to keep a presence in some countries, removing duplication where possible. In terms of new services that will be filling in for the withdrawn services, it’s a lot of US-bound traffic, including
- A new daily service between London Heathrow to Detroit
- Additional daily service between London Heathrow to New York-JFK
- Additional daily service from London Heathrow to Los Angeles
- An additional summer season additional daily flight between London Heathrow to Atlanta
- An additional summer season 5 times weekly service between London Heathrow to San Francisco
- An additional daily service between London Heathrow to Miami during the winter season
- Manchester to Atlanta swill switch to Virgin Atlantic operation on a daily operation
- A London Heathrow to Newark International service will switch from Virgin Atlantic to Delta
- Delta will also operate a daily operation between Manchester and New York JFK in Summer 2015
A rather US centric set of services there with the freed up flights, aimed at delivering Virgin Atlantic hard cash and profit – and feeding mostly into Delta hubs for those who require onward flights to other destinations.
In addition, this feeds into the joint business venture across the Atlantic with Delta – to try to challenge the dominance of British Airways/American Airline and United Airlines.
Will there be more axes wielded on the route network? I wouldn’t put it past Virgin Atlantic (with a little pressure from its 49% share holder Delta) to wield the axe further in the future, depending on the demand, utilisation and if the route is actually making money.
It seems that Virgin Atlantic is going to live up to its name of taking passengers just across the Atlantic if some routes don’t perform better.
And that would be a shame – the UK does need competition to British Airways in the long haul sector. Removing international destinations from its network and boosting links to the USA is hardly the way to do it.
Or, it I’m being blunt, the next time some Virgin Atlantic planes enter the paint shop, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Delta widget was painted on them…