Virgin Atlantic said on Monday that it will add two destinations to its route map in 2024, with new services from London Heathrow set to be launched to São Paulo in Brazil and Bengaluru in India.
The São Paulo announcement isn’t entirely new, as Virgin Atlantic originally announced the route back in March 2019. The service was due to launch the following year but was quickly canned when the pandemic struck and has remained on the back burner ever since.
This time around, Virgin Atlantic has set a definitive start date with a daily service on the 11-hour and 55-minute flight to São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport, slated to begin on May 13, 2024. Tickets are expected to go on sale in August.
Meanwhile, flights to India’s tech-capital Bengaluru (formally known as Bangalore) are expected to begin on March 31, 2024. Bengaluru had been widely tipped as a new destination in India for Virgin Atlantic, adding to its existing footprint in Delhi and Mumbai.
Virgin Atlantic will be looking to tap into the highly lucrative market of connecting passenger traffic from India through to its North American destinations.
Meanwhile, the loss-making carrier will be hoping that it can “capitalise on the fast-growing Brazilian economy,” especially in São Paulo, which is Brazil’s commercial capital and benefits from year-round transatlantic demand.
The formal route announcement was made by Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss during a convention of airline executives at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) conference, which is being held in Istanbul after several days of speculation.
There were rumours that Weiss was going to announce Virgin Atlantic’s entry into the South Korean market with a new route to Seoul as part of a deal with Korean Air to get its merger with rival Asiana past competition regulators.
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.