Virgin Atlantic reveals fifth A350 destination, additional frequencies to U.S.
Virgin Atlantic is continuing to expand its route network, adding frequencies and new aircraft. Since beginning to roll out its brand-new Airbus A350 aircraft on routes between London and New York, the airline has remained tight-lipped as to what other destinations — in addition to New York and Los Angeles — will get its newest jet.
However, on Tuesday, the carrier unveiled a slew of new A350 destinations and additional frequencies to its route network that will kick in, for the most part, in summer 2020.
With the announcement, we now know that Virgin will operate the A350 to a total of five destinations as of August 2020, as well as increasing frequencies to San Francisco and Delhi, India.
New A350 routes
On Tuesday, Virgin announced the next routes to get the A350 aircraft — an improvement over its older aircraft, especially in Upper Class.
By August 2020, the aircraft will fly to five destinations in Virgin's network, and all of its flights to Africa will be operated by the A350. Here's the planned rollout of the aircraft for Virgin:
- Beginning March 2020 — daily service from London to Johannesburg (JNB)
- Beginning April 2020 — daily service from London to Los Angeles (LAX)
- Beginning May 2020 — daily service from London to San Francisco (SFO)
- From August 2020 — daily service from London to Lagos (LOS)
Virgin first began flying its new Airbus A350 in September, with its inaugural flight between London Heathrow (LHR) and New York (JFK). And it doubled down on its New York A350 operations by announcing it would fly the route four times per day with the aircraft.
On board, passengers can expect an elevated experience in Upper Class, with the introduction of Virgin's Upper Class Suite. You can watch the TPG U.K. review in all three cabins in the video below:
The airline has a total of 12 A350-1000 on order, and it expects to finish taking delivery of them by 2021. The more fuel-efficient aircraft are set to replace the airline's aging fleet of A340-600 and Boeing 747 aircraft.
More San Francisco service
In the summer, Virgin Atlantic already flies from London Heathrow (LHR) to San Francisco (SFO) twice daily, with the exception of Fridays, when it only offers one daily service. However, that's changing in the summer 2020 season.
The new weekly flight will leave for SFO on Fridays, giving the day a second service. From May 2020, Virgin will fly the A350 on the LHR-SFO route, which will replace one of the carrier's Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Additional and revised India operations
As part of its summer 2020 route network enhancements, the airline is introducing a second daily frequency between London Heathrow and Delhi, India (DEL). The second daily route will begin service on 29 March 2020, and will go on sale 23 November 2019.
While exact timings haven't yet been revealed, Virgin said that the outbound flight will depart from Heathrow in the morning.
In October, Virgin relaunched its route between Heathrow and Mumbai, India (BOM). Now, for the summer season, it's altering that schedule slightly. Currently, it operates on the following schedule:
- VS354 London Heathrow (LHR) 10:30 a.m. Departure → Mumbai (BOM) 00:55 a.m. (+1) Arrival
- VS355 Mumbai (BOM) 3 a.m. Departure → London Heathrow (LHR) 07:15 a.m. Arrival
However, as of the summer scheduled change, the Mumbai-bound flight will depart in the evening, as opposed to the morning.
Virgin's continuing to change its plans with the rolling out of its A350 aircraft. As of May 2020, three U.S. destinations will be connected to London by a Virgin A350: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.