Virgin Atlantic launches optimistic summer 2021 schedule despite financial uncertainty

May 13, 2020

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Despite the ongoing threat of collapse as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, on Tuesday, Virgin Atlantic shared its optimistic plan for what its route network will look like going forward.

In a press release, the plan goes as far as summer 2021. In total, the airline’s schedule will include 24 destinations operated by twin-engine, wide-body aircraft such as the A330-300, 787-9 and A350-1000 as well as the A330-200 before it gets retired in 2022.

(Photo by Tom Dalt)
(Photo by Tom Dalt/The Points Guy)

Related: The ultimate guide to flying Virgin Atlantic

The airline’s 2021 summer schedule will commence on 28 March 2021 and will include flights from four U.K. airports: Belfast (BFS), Glasgow (GLA), London Heathrow (LHR) and Manchester (MAN).

Heathrow (LHR)

The now-consolidated London route network means that flights to all destinations from London will only operate from Heathrow (LHR). There will be flights to the following 24 destinations: Antigua (ANU), Atlanta (ATL), Barbados (BGI), Boston (BOS), Cape Town (CPT), Delhi (DEL), Grenada (GND), Havana (HAV), Hong Kong (HKG), Johannesburg (JNB), Lagos (LOS), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Montego Bay (MJB), Mumbai (BOM), New York (JFK), Orlando (MCO), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Shanghai (PVG), Tobago (TAB), Tel Aviv (TLV) and Washington (IAD).

It’s worth noting that Cape Town is a seasonal winter route, which will stop in April 2021. There will also be an additional daily service to Tel Aviv (TLV) — bringing the total to two per day.

Manchester (MAN)

The airline will continue to operate from its northern base at Manchester. Flights during summer 2021 will be to Atlanta (ATL), Barbados (BGI), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK) and Orlando (MCO).

Related: A fantastic upgrade to your airport experience: A review of PremiAir, Manchester Airport’s brand-new private terminal

Belfast (BFS) and Glasgow (GLA)

The Scottish and Northern Irish cities of Glasgow and Belfast will continue to be served by Virgin with one route to Orlando (MCO). The service from Glasgow will continue as usual while Belfast will see a reduced number of flights.

Virgin’s summer 2021 network announcement on Tuesday comes after weeks of turbulence for the airline. The airline’s founder Sir Richard Branson called for support from the U.K. government to stop the airline from collapsing.

Related: 9 ways coronavirus could forever change the future of travel

In April, the airline scrapped the launch of its planned new route to São Paulo. As the situation got progressively worse, the big news came that Virgin would immediately retire its entire fleet of 747s, as well as close its Gatwick (LGW) base indefinitely and be forced to cut more than 3,000 jobs to try and limit the financial pressure on the company.

Related: Our last ride with Virgin’s 747: A review of Upper Class from Manchester to Atlanta

Flights for the 2021 summer season will go on sale 16 May.

Featured image by Ben Stansall/Getty Images

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