Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss has revealed that he is preparing to announce two new routes during a convention of airline industry bigwigs at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual conference, which is being held in Türkiye this year.
Weiss is jetting out to Istanbul this weekend ahead of the conference getting underway on Sunday, where he has already lined up a string of media interview to plug the new destinations.
In a leaked internal memo, the Israeli-born aviation executive didn’t give any clues as to where Virgin Atlantic plans to fly next, but the hot money is on Seoul, South Korea, being one of the two new routes that will be formally announced.
Virgin Atlantic is already tipped to start flying a daily service between its London Heathrow hub and Seoul Incheon at the beginning of the Summer 2024 schedule, which begins on the last Sunday of March.
The route is part of a deal that Virgin Atlantic has struck with Korean Air to help the South Korean flag carrier get a merger deal with rival Asiana past the British competition watchdog.
After months of speculation, Virgin Atlantic was formally revealed as the ‘remedy maker’ to ensure competition on the London – Seoul route in March, but the airline didn’t actually announce the route at this time.
As for where the other new route due to be announced is going to be, that remains a mystery. Weiss did, however, tell staffers that the two new routes would be on different continents so that might preclude an expanded footprint in India for the time being at least.
Last week, Virgin Atlantic announced it was making a welcome return to Dubai from London Heathrow which will operate as a winter seasonal route from October through to March on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner following a five year break.
The airline also announced the return of its Las Vegas route from Manchester next summer, utilising an Airbus A350 aircraft in a high-density ‘leisure’ configuration with 16 Upper Class seats, 56 Premium seats and 325 Economy seats.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.