Air, Feature, Freight News

Virgin and Delta: better together

[ August 19, 2019   //   ]

Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines will boost their flights between the UK and the US from next summer, in a move which sees Delta join Virgin Atlantic at Gatwick Airport and giving cargo customers their best-ever choice of trans-Atlantic capacity, routes and frequencies, say the carriers.

Gatwick will become Delta’s seventh trans-Atlantic destination served nonstop from Boston when flights begin on 22 May 2020. One day before, Virgin Atlantic will launch a daily flight to New York-JFK from Gatwick. Together, the airlines will offer up to four daily flights to three US cities next summer.

Delta’s return to Gatwick will mark the first time the airlines have both served the airport since their partnership began in 2014.

From 29 March 2020, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will increase capacity between New York-JFK and London Heathrow. Delta will increase its services to three times daily, with Virgin Atlantic operating five

There will be a daytime slot from JFK to Heathrow for the first time, operated by Delta, complementing the daytime Boston-Heathrow and JFK-Heathrow services currently offered by Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow-JFK flights will also be the first route served by the airline’s new Airbus A350 from September 2019, which will boost cargo capacity.

Virgin Atlantic is also set to increase flights from Heathrow to Seattle from seven to 11 per week while Los Angeles will see services rise from 14 to 17 flights per week and will be the second route to be operated by the A350 next year.

Delta will also return to Manchester, with a new peak-summer service to Boston from 21 May, taking over Virgin Atlantic’s current operation. Flights will increase from the current three per week to daily.

Manchester will become the eighth trans-Atlantic destination served nonstop by Delta from Boston, while flights to Atlanta, New York-JFK, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Orlando will continue to be operated by Virgin Atlantic. Together, the airlines will offer a schedule of up to six daily flights to Manchester from six US cities next summer.

Virgin Atlantic cargo manager Dominic Kennedy (pictured, right) said: “This is great news for the cargo customers of both airlines and will significantly increase the choice they have to ship goods between the UK and US. As we continue to build a platform for long-term growth, our summer 2020 schedule represents another strengthening of our joint venture with Delta Cargo and will help to reinforce our position as a carrier of choice on the highly-competitive trans-Atlantic market.”

Delta Air Lines’ vice president-cargo, Shawn Cole (left), commented: “We’re excited to be sharing this expansion with our joint venture partner, Virgin Atlantic, and to be returning to London Gatwick as well as Manchester, and growing our international network from Boston. Our new services from Heathrow will also be supported by the opening later this year of our new joint cargo terminal, which will ultimately double our cargo handling capacity at the airport and ensure we continue to meet our customers’ service expectations.”