Virgin Atlantic launches its first-ever route to Norway — but don’t expect to fly it any time soon

Jan 29, 2021

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Virgin Atlantic is launching service to a new destination that’s north of the Arctic Circle — but don’t expect to be able to fly it any time soon.

This week, the full-service, long-haul airline launched its first-ever cargo-only flight to Norway. On Jan. 27, Virgin first tested the flight between its base at London Heathrow (LHR) and Harstad/Narvik Airport (EVE) in Norway.

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The route will become a regular flight for Virgin Atlantic Cargo as of Feb. 3, with twice-weekly flights. Virgin will utilize one of its passenger-configured Boeing 787-9 aircraft to operate the route, which the carrier says will primarily serve the Norwegian seafood and fish industry — fresh salmon, cod and crabs.

(Image courtesy of FlightRadar24)

The new route will allow Virgin Atlantic to serve its ongoing destinations as well, such as transporting fresh seafood from Norway to its route network throughout the United States.

Located north of the Arctic Circle, Harstad/Narvik presented some logistical challenges to the airline, which typically uses its aircraft to operate routes with predominantly high passenger demand. Most notably, the launch to EVE and the town’s limited hours of daylight each day and freezing winter temperatures that reach highs of just minus 2 degrees Celcius (28 degrees Fahrenheit), Virgin Atlantic was forced to prepare in new ways for a route launch.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Virgin Atlantic has had to change the way it operates. With passenger demand at a low and travel restrictions continuing to hinder that comeback, the airline launched its cargo-only operations, which has only continued to grow in recent months.

Related: Virgin Atlantic operates its first-ever cargo-only flight

(Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic)

“Virgin Atlantic Cargo continues to expand at pace, and this exciting new launch is testament to the innovative spirit of our business,” said Virgin Atlantic Managing Director of Cargo Dominic Kennedy. “Norway is our eleventh new cargo destination in twelve months, and we’re now able to offer customers a fast, efficient cargo service via London Heathrow onto the rest of our network.”

When the route launches as a regular service for Virgin Atlantic Cargo on Feb. 3, it will operate on the following schedule on Wednesdays and Saturdays:

  • VS501 London Heathrow (LHR) 9 a.m. Departure ⇒ Harstad/Narvik Airport (EVE) 1 p.m. Arrival
  • VS502 Harstad/Narvik Airport (EVE) 3 p.m. Departure ⇒ London Heathrow (LHR) 5:20 p.m. Arrival

Related: Left without flyers, airlines are using passenger jets for cargo

Featured photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

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