Virgin Atlantic Eyes Scotland With First Long Haul Flights From Edinburgh

Virgin Atlantic has revealed an exciting move to bring its long-haul services to Scotland. The airline will begin flying from Edinburgh to Barbados on December 5th, operating a twice-weekly service between the Sottish capital and the Caribbean. Next year, the airline plans to add a route to Orlando from Edinburgh, firming up its position at the Scottish airport.

Virgin Tel Aviv
Virgin’s A330 will be arriving in Edinburgh soon. Photo: Airbus

Edinburgh set to welcome Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is flexing its muscles in the north of the UK, adding Edinburgh as its newest gateway for long-haul flights to tropical destinations. The airline will launch twice-weekly services to Barbados on December 5th, with flights going on sale from August 18th. Flights will be operated by its Airbus A330 aircraft, with fares starting at £419 per person.

From April 2022, the airline will add a second destination from Edinburgh – Orlando, Florida. The airline is hoping to attract traffic both ways on this route, with visitors from the US able to easily reach all the attractions of Scotland via Edinburgh. Virgin notes that its new home at Edinburgh will enable it to operate some key cargo services too, flying popular Scottish goods like whisky and smoked salmon to the US and Caribbean.

Virgin Atlantic Edinburgh Launch Cabin Crew with Piper Conner Pratt
Virgin’s arrival will make travel easier to and from Scotland. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

It’s a big deal for Edinburgh to get some love from this long-haul airline. Its CEO Gordon Dewar commented,

“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.

“We look forward to the new routes launching and watching passengers head off on the holiday of a lifetime from Edinburgh Airport with Virgin Atlantic.”

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More Caribbean capacity

Virgin’s services from Edinburgh will complement its offering in Manchester, which is also getting some capacity upgrades over the next few months. The northern English airport will see a new route launch from November 6th to Montego Bay, Jamaica, flying three times a week with its A330-300 aircraft. Flights for these new services go on sale from August 18th and cost from £428 per person.

Manchester will also see an additional two flights per week to Barbados, taking the frequency to five times per week, amid a 70% increase in Virgin’s flying to this market. Heathrow will see an increase to take it to 11 flights per week to Barbados, and services to Jamaica will rise from three per week to daily from the London airport.

Virgin Atlantic, Airbus A350, Caribbean
Mumbai will see a capacity upgrade in the form of the A350. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Also from Heathrow, Virgin will add the Bahamas on November 20th, and on December 18th, it will launch a seasonal winter connection to St Lucia, flying three times a week.

Virgin’s chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen commented on the announcement, saying,

“The Caribbean is such an important destination for us and for our customers and we couldn’t be more excited to announce our new routes, as we continue to grow our ever-expanding portfolio. 

“We know customers are keen to get away on their next adventure after a challenging year and these Caribbean destinations offer the perfect escape for those travelers looking to either simply relax or explore a new corner of the world. 

“For customers based around the UK, we are also thrilled to be able to offer additional routes from both Edinburgh and Manchester. Commencing international flights from Edinburgh marks an exciting new chapter and I know our teams can’t wait to show Edinburgh the famous Virgin Atlantic spirit and flair.”

Aside from the Caribbean, Virgin’s portfolio is also expanding in other parts of the world. It will fly its largest aircraft, the A350-1000, to Mumbai for the rest of August, increasing capacity by 30%. For the Hong Kong market, it will add 80% more capacity from September, putting on four more weekly flights using the A350.