British Airways was required to give away some Heathrow slots that were to be used for domestic UK routes for its purchase of BMI to be approved. Virgin Atlantic won these and is now starting its domestic UK operations.
Virgin Atlantic has made a three year deal with Irish carrier Air Lingus to wet lease four aircraft with crews. These aircraft will be entirely in Virgin Atlantic livery and up to Virgin’s service standards.
The airline will operate three route from Terminal 1 at London’s Heathrow airport to Manchester, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen. Here’s the schedule for these routes as published on Airlineroute.
London Heathrow – Aberdeen eff 09APR13 3 daily service (Planned operation is unchanged)
VS3021 LHR0930 – 1110ABZ 320 D ^
VS3023 LHR1530 – 1700ABZ 320 D
VS3025 LHR2015 – 2155ABZ 320 D
VS3026 ABZ0635 – 0815LHR 320 D
VS3022 ABZ1155 – 1335LHR 320 D
VS3024 ABZ1735 – 1915LHR 320 D ^
London Heathrow – Edinburgh eff 05APR13 Service begins with 3 daily flights, and increases to 6 daily from 15APR13 (Previously to start 05APR13 with 6 daily flights)
VS3001 LHR0645 – 0815EDI 320 D*
VS3003 LHR0910 – 1040EDI 320 D ^
VS3005 LHR1120 – 1240EDI 320 D*
VS3007 LHR1515 – 1645EDI 320 D
VS3009 LHR1625 – 1755EDI 320 D*
VS3011 LHR1950 – 2120EDI 320 D
VS3012 EDI0640 – 0810LHR 320 D
VS3002 EDI0905 – 1035LHR 320 D*
VS3004 EDI1120 – 1250LHR 320 D
VS3006 EDI1335 – 1505LHR 320 D*
VS3008 EDI1735 – 1905LHR 320 D ^
VS3010 EDI1845 – 2015LHR 320 D*
* effective 15APR13
London Heathrow – Manchester eff 31MAR13 Service increases from planned 3 to 4 daily
VS3041 LHR0930 – 1030MAN 320 D ^
VS3047 LHR1300 – 1400MAN 320 D
VS3043 LHR1715 – 1815MAN 320 D
VS3045 LHR2045 – 2145MAN 320 D
VS3046 MAN0650 – 0800LHR 320 D
VS3042 MAN1110 – 1220LHR 320 D
VS3048 MAN1445 – 1555LHR 320 D
VS3044 MAN1855 – 2000LHR 320 D
You can use these flights purely for domestic UK travel, but Sir. Richard’s main goal has to be to use them to feed Virgin Atlantic’s longhaul network.
Competition is always good. It is interesting to see how this is going to play out for Virgin Atlantic. You can likely be able to use these flights as part of you award itineraries in either any of the Virgin’s or their partners’ plans.