Virgin Atlantic Adds Flights To Maldives, Turks & Caicos

Virgin Atlantic has just announced two new long haul routes, which will be exciting for those looking for warm weather. Let’s go over the details.

Virgin Atlantic adding London to Maldives route

As of October 22, 2023, Virgin Atlantic will launch a new 3x weekly flight between London Heathrow (LHR) and Male (MLE). This flight will be operated exclusively for the winter season. Tickets are expected to go on sale as of November 30, 2022, and the exact schedule has not yet been revealed.

The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787-9, featuring a total of 258 seats. This includes 31 business class seats, 35 premium economy seats, and 192 economy seats.

Virgin Atlantic will be competing directly with British Airways on this route, as British Airways operates an identical route year-round. The route operates daily during peak season with a Boeing 777, and 3x weekly in the off-season with a Boeing 787.

Virgin Atlantic will fly a Boeing 787-9 to the Maldives

Virgin Atlantic adding London to Turks & Caicos route

As of November 15, 2023, Virgin Atlantic will launch a new 2x weekly flight between London Heathrow (LHR) and Providenciales (PLS). This flight will be operated year-round. Tickets are expected to go on sale as of January 11, 2023, and the exact schedule has not yet been revealed.

The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787-9, featuring a total of 258 seats. This includes 31 business class seats, 35 premium economy seats, and 192 economy seats.

Virgin Atlantic will compete with British Airways on this route. British Airways flies to Providenciales, but only via Nassau, as a fifth freedom flight. The route operates daily during peak season, and 3x weekly in the off-season, always with a Boeing 777.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Upper Class

My take on Virgin Atlantic’s sunny expansion

Nowadays Virgin Atlantic has consolidated its London-area service to Heathrow Airport, after having pulled out of Gatwick Airport at the beginning of the pandemic. Virgin Atlantic has a limited number of Heathrow slots, so that’s the biggest challenge standing in the way of Virgin Atlantic’s growth.

When Virgin Atlantic adds a route, the question isn’t whether the route is independently profitable, but rather how it compares profitably to other routes that could be operated with that slot. The way I see it:

  • A seasonal flight to the Maldives in winter makes sense, given that there’s otherwise less transatlantic demand that time of year; for SkyTeam and Virgin Atlantic flyers, this will also likely be one of the best ways to get from the United States to the Maldives
  • On the surface the service to Turks & Caicos makes sense; I do find it interesting that British Airways can seemingly only make Turks & Caicos service work through Nassau, despite having so much more short haul connecting traffic, while Virgin Atlantic will operate the route nonstop from the UK
  • I suspect these flights will be heavily booked through Virgin Holidays, so that people can book vacation packages that include flights and hotels; the strength of that is a competitive advantage for Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic will fly to the Maldives

Bottom line

Virgin Atlantic has announced its two newest routes. In late 2023, the airline will launch a seasonal winter flight to the Maldives, as well as a year-round flight to Turks & Caicos, with both flights being operated by Boeing 787s.

Ultimately these are logical holiday additions, especially for winter, where demand between the United States and the United Kingdom isn’t as robust as in summer. I’m curious to see if these routes last in the long-run.

What do you make of Virgin Atlantic’s newest routes?

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