Virgin Atlantic plans to launch another Caribbean route to a brand new destination

Nov 3, 2020

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Virgin Atlantic is adding yet another route between the U.K. and the Caribbean.

On Tuesday, just two days before England’s second national lockdown, the carrier announced that it has its eyes set on the Caribbean for next year. As of summer 2021, the airline will begin flying between London Heathrow (LHR) and St Vincent (SVD).

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When Virgin launches the route as of next year, it will mark the first connection between Europe and the small Caribbean island nation.

Virgin plans to launch the route in June 2021 with one of its Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Flights will go on sale as of 25 November.

“St Vincent and the Grenadines as well as the Caribbean region as a whole, represent an extremely exciting opportunity for us,” Virgin Atlantic Chief Commercial Officer Juha Jarvinen said in a statement. “With many islands implementing rigorous COVID-19 protocols including testing before arrival and a short quarantine period for visitors, the islands are open for tourism and are a haven for travellers in search of sun.”

Related: Which Caribbean countries can I travel to from England right now?

In recent months, Virgin Atlantic has emphasised how important its Caribbean route network is for its future in a COVID era. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, airlines around the world have had to rethink how and where they fly.

For Virgin, the pandemic has been especially devastating, as transatlantic travel accounts for 70% of its network in a typical year. Because of the pandemic, routes between the U.K. and U.S. have been largely off the table, given strict entry requirements for leisure travellers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Related: Virgin Atlantic secures £1.2 billion deal, but return of transatlantic travel is ‘imperative to recovery’

As a result, Virgin has made evident that it plans to expand its presence in the Caribbean. Many island destinations have remained options for British travellers in recent months, leading to the airline focussing its operations on the region — especially for the winter travel season.

Related: Sun and sandy beaches: Virgin Atlantic focuses on winter Caribbean routes

By early 2021, the airline will have launched service between London Heathrow (LHR) and Antigua (ANU), Barbados (BGI), Grenada (GND), Tobago (TAB) and Montego Bay (MBJ) — with some plans for Havana (HAV).

On Thursday, England will enter its second national lockdown. From the period between 5 November and 2 December at the earliest, leisure travel will be off the table for Brits, as the government will advise against all non-essential travel — both domestically and internationally.

However, Virgin’s Tuesday announcement shows that it has hope for travel in 2021 with this new route to a brand new destination.

Featured photo by Flavio Vallenari/Getty Images.

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