Virgin Atlantic scraps its planned route to Sao Paulo due to coronavirus

Apr 20, 2020

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Virgin Atlantic has announced that it no longer plans to launch its new route from London Heathrow to São Paulo, Brazil, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

The route was first announced in September 2019, with an inaugural flight on 29 March 2020. However, in a series of cost-cutting measures in light of coronavirus, Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said the inaugural date would move to 6 October 2020. Now, however, the airline has scrapped plans to launch the route — its first to South America — altogether.

“In response to the rapid acceleration and severe impact of Covid-19, we are continually reviewing our flying programme in order to deploy our fleet most effectively”, said a Virgin spokesperson. “As a result, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to withdraw our London Heathrow to Sao Paulo service which was due to launch on 6 October 2020”.

Related reading: Your frequently asked coronavirus-related questions

The airline said that it will be in contact with any passengers who may have already booked flights.

During the coronavirus crisis, Virgin Atlantic — along with other airlines around the world — has been forced with cutting operations, even suspending passenger flights altogether. In order to preserve cash, it’s also taken up several cost-cutting measures, such as employees taking a wage reduction for eight weeks.

The announcement of the route suspension was followed on Monday by Richard Branson, the founder of the airline, saying that Virgin Atlantic would collapse without government support.

Earlier on Monday, fellow Virgin Group airline Virgin Australia was reported to have entered voluntary administration.

Featured photo by Tom Dalton/The Points Guy.

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