Virgin Atlantic Inaugurates Long-Haul Flights From Edinburgh

Sunday saw Virgin Atlantic inaugurate its first long-haul route from Edinburgh. The airline launched its new service from the Scottish capital to Barbados, its third route to the Caribbean nation. It’s the first connection to Barbados from the Scottish capital.

Virgin Atlantic Inaugurates Long-Haul Flights From Edinburgh
Virgin Atlantic is using one of its Airbus A330-300s for the 9+ hour route over the Atlantic. Photo: Getty Images

Hello sunshine!

December 5th marked the first flight of Virgin Atlantic’s new route from Edinburgh Airport (EDI) to Bridgetown, Barbados (BGI). The route was first announced in August this year, with the carrier hoping to corner the market for long-haul services to leisure destinations and boost cargo capacity out of Scotland.

VS223 took off from EDI at 11:17 AM local time for the scheduled nine hours and a 10-minute transatlantic flight. The A330-300 operating took a straightforward route, flying southwest over Ireland before entering the Atlantic for much of its journey. The next time the flight was overland, it was on approach to BGI, where it touched down at 16:00 local time, 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

Map
Barbados is the first of two destinations Virgin has planned from Edinburgh in the next year. Map and Data: RadarBox.com

This service will operate twice a week, scheduled for:

  • VS223: Departs EDI at 11:05 AM and lands in BGI at 16:15 local times on Wednesdays and Sundays (the schedule varies slightly through Dec-Jan)
  • VS224: Departs BGI at 19:10 and arrived in EDI at 07:30 AM (+1 day) on Saturdays and Tuesdays (no changes to schedule)

Virgin’s trusted Airbus A330-300s will serve both flights. These planes come equipped with 31 seats in Upper Class, 46 seats in premium economy, and 185 seats in standard economy, for a total of 264 passengers.

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More coming

In the spring, Virgin Atlantic plans to launch its second route from Edinburgh, this time bound for the East Coast of the US. The carrier will start flights to Orlando, Florida in April 2022, a key leisure destination for passengers. This route could also attract two-way traffic, with American visitors flying to see the sights of Scotland with a nonstop flight.

More details on the route will be released in the coming weeks, including ticket prices and the flight schedule. If commercially successful, we could see Virgin expand its presence out of Edinburgh and establish more routes to rival those offered by United and American Airlines.

Virgin Atlantic Inaugurates Long-Haul Flights From Edinburgh
The pandemic has opened new opportunities for airlines globally, and Virgin’s presence in EDI is only one example. Photo: Getty Images

In a statement about the new route in August, Edinburgh Airport CEO Gordon Dewar said,

A premier city like Edinburgh deserves premier airlines and we are extremely excited to welcome our newest partner Virgin Atlantic to Scotland’s capital city. To be able to deliver flights to Barbados, Scotland’s only direct route to the Caribbean, and Orlando is a fantastic boost to us as we prepare for the post-Covid recovery, and it is a huge show of confidence in Edinburgh Airport’s ability to deliver for passengers across the country.”

Recovering

After a nearly catastrophic 2020-21, Virgin Atlantic is slowly on the mend. November saw the reopening of its most important market, the US, and a strong recovery of passenger traffic. However, with a new variant in circulation, the carrier could miss out on the lucrative winter travel, setting it further behind its recovery plan.

What do you think about Virgin’s new routes from Edinburgh? Let us know in the comments!

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