Virgin Atlantic Will Suspend All Passenger Flights For A Week

Virgin Atlantic will halt all passenger services for just under week this month. This suspension will come into place between the 20th and 26th of April amid the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on the British carrier.

Virgin Atlantic Heathrow Getty Images
With much of its fleet already grounded, Virgin Atlantic is going to fully stop commercial flights for six days. Photo: Getty Images

Shifting focus

The Points Guy reports that Virgin will only operate cargo flights during this suspended period.

The cargo-only schedule is as follows:

  • 21-26 April – London Heathrow (LHR) to New York (JFK) 
  • 20-26 April – London Heathrow (LHR) to Hong Kong (HKG)
  • 20-26 April – London Heathrow (LHR) to Los Angeles (LAX)

Simple Flying reached out to Virgin Atlantic for further comment on its flight suspensions. A spokesperson for the carrier shared that the airline is constantly reviewing its flying program each day. This is due to the rapid acceleration of the COVID-19 outbreak and extensive travel restrictions, coupled with a sharp drop in customer demand.

Virgin Atlantic, Grounded Aircraft, Coronavirus
Virgin usually specializes in passenger services but with the virus outbreak shaking up the world, it is using its skills elsewhere. Photo: Getty Images

Important tasks

Meanwhile, Virgin is working alongside the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that important cargo work is carried out. It performed its first-ever cargo flight just last week, which was a trip from Shanghai. The airline shipped in important medical supplies for the United Kingdom’s NHS.

Additionally, the operator will continue collaborating with UK authorities to carry out international flights for those seeking to come home.

“The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has provided Virgin Atlantic with special dispensation to carry cargo in the cabin as well as the cargo hold, so that we can carry even more essential goods, to ensure global supply chains keep running and transporting essential medical supplies into the UK at this time of crisis,” the Virgin spokesperson told Simple Flying.

“Virgin Atlantic will also continue to work closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to help facilitate repatriation flights and bring UK nationals home.”

Virgin Atlantic Hong Kong
The airline is still making some long-haul trips, especially if it is for urgent assistance during the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images

Troubling times

The carrier is also looking for a substantial bailout from the government amid the spread of the virus. This is a request that is supported by both Airbus and Heathrow. Like several business, these two organizations are important stakeholders in the airline.

Altogether, Virgin is having to make some important decisions this month. The company is massively worried about its finances during the global downturn and is continuously cutting its schedule. However, it is also working hard to perform essential services for those within the UK. The operator will be hoping to hear an update on its requests for financial support while pressure continues to mount.

What are your thoughts on Virgin making more temporary cuts to its services? Have you been impacted by any of these changes? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.