To meet high demand for travel to one of Virgin Atlantic’s flagship destinations, Sir Richard Branson’s airline is deploying a Boeing 747 aircraft on all 11 of its weekly flights from the UK’s northern gateway, Manchester Airport - resulting in up to 2,000 extra available seats to and from the Sunshine State every week.
Confirming the enduring popularity of Florida with British holidaymakers, Virgin Atlantic will carry up to 10,000 passengers every week from Manchester Airport next summer, a 25% increase from this year.
The move further confirms Virgin Atlantic’s commitment to expansion in Manchester following the recent launch of its domestic service Little Red, which operates four daily return flights from Manchester Airport to London Heathrow. Little Red’s services reintroduced competition on the route, which had been served by a single carrier since British Airways’ takeover of bmi.
Edmond Rose, Director of Airline Planning at Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“Orlando has always been one of our most popular destinations and across our network we offer nearly 40 return flights a week to Florida.
“Demand is always high in the Manchester area and to meet this demand we have taken the decision to bring one of our ‘jumbo jet’ 747 aircraft onto this route, resulting in a huge increase in the number of seats available for holidaymakers looking for a sunshine break.
“This continues our recent work with Manchester Airport to expand our operations, after we launched our first ever domestic flight from the airport this Easter. We now offer passengers from the city four daily flights to London Heathrow, opening up a host of onward connection opportunities on our worldwide network, with destinations varying from Tokyo to Cape Town, Lagos to Los Angeles.”
Ken O’Toole, Chief Commercial Officer for MAG, owners of Manchester Airport, said:
“We're delighted that Virgin Atlantic is expanding its level of long haul activity from the North West by deciding to base a second 747 'jumbo' jet aircraft at Manchester from summer 2014.
“Our 'Fly Manchester' campaign continues to drive increased passenger and airline awareness of the strength of our catchment and long haul route network and we look forward to working with Virgin Atlantic to further increase their route network and scale of direct connections from Manchester in the future.”
The 455 seat jumbo jet will replace a 314 seat Airbus A330 which previously operated seven of Virgin’s 11 weekly flights.
The Boeing 747 aircraft also features Virgin Atlantic’s award winning Upper Class in addition to the Premium Economy and Economy product available on the Airbus, and was recently refitted to include touch screen in-flight entertainment systems, new seats and mood lighting in all cabins.