Virgin Atlantic Axes Yet Another Route: London (LHR)-Dubai (DXB) Service To End On 31 March 2019

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Virgin Atlantic continues to aggressively cut down it schedule and weeds out routes that aren’t profitable anymore with Dubai being the latest victim as the airline announced yesterday.

Virgin says that the competition on the Dubai route has pretty much saturated the market and won’t allow for profitable VS operations anymore, hence their decision to end the service effective 31 March 2019.

Previously Virgin decided to cut routes to Sydney, Australia and Hong Kong for the same reason as the competition – especially the ME3 carriers – increased capacity and offered more competitive fares.

You can find Virgin Atlantic’s press release here.

After conducting a thorough review of its network, the airline has made the difficult decision to stop flying between Dubai and London due to a combination of external factors which mean it is no longer economically viable.

Shai Weiss, Chief Commercial Officer for Virgin Atlantic, said: “It‘s never an easy decision to withdraw a route, and we’d like to thank our customers and dedicated team in Dubai for their loyalty over the last 12 years. We’ll continue to offer daily flights between Dubai and London Heathrow until 31 March 2019, and will be sad to say goodbye to this fantastic city.”

Until March 31 2019, Virgin Atlantic will continue to operate its daily flights between Dubai and London Heathrow as planned, with new bookings still available until the last flight. Virgin Holidays will continue to provide holiday packages to Dubai. It offers an extensive range of hotels throughout the region and has recently launched the ‘v-hub’ arrival lounge at the Atlantis Dubai, allowing customers to truly kick off their holiday in style.

Indeed when you look at the flights to Dubai offered from London it’s a clear picture of how saturated the market is:

Emirates alone operates 10 flights a day out of the greater London area, 9 of these flights with Airbus A380. British Airways has two flights operated by Boeing 777 daily.

All that’s left for Virgin Atlantic and their A330 are the breadcrumbs and Virgin loyalists but I doubt that’s enough to keep business on that route afloat as evident by the carriers decision to pull the plug on DXB next year.

Conclusion

It’s always sad to see routes disappear, especially on a carrier like Virgin where the product is really but at the end of the day economics have to prevail.

All these Emirates flights from London to Dubai are obviously feeder traffic. Not many of the passengers are actually going to stay in Dubai but rather go on to other destinations. It’s quite hard to compete with their product, even for Virgin Atlantic.

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