Virgin Atlantic Resumes Saint Lucia Flights

The first Virgin Atlantic Airbus in 21 months touched down at Saint Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport on the weekend after resuming flights to the eastern Caribbean island nation. Saturday’s flight marked the first of thrice-weekly Virgin Atlantic flights to the island.

Virgin Atlantic has resumed flying into Saint Lucia using its Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Photo: Airbus

Virgin Atlantic gives BA some competition on the Saint Lucia run

Saint Lucia is welcoming travelers back, and Virgin Atlantic’s arrival back on the scene gives British Airways some competition on the country pair. British Airways flies into Saint Lucia from Heathrow and Gatwick.

Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330-300 is now pushing back from Heathrow at 13:35 every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. VS221 takes nine hours and 20 minutes to cover the 4,217 miles (6,786 kilometers) between the two airports, landing in Saint Lucia at 18:55 on the same day.

Out of Hewanorra Airport, VS222 departs at 20:30 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to fly through the night and touch down in Heathrow at a civilized 08:40 the next day.

Virgin Atlantic’s A330-300s fly 264 passengers, including 185 passengers in the main cabin, 21 passengers in premium economy, and 31 passengers in upper class. Captain Iain Reid helmed Saturday’s Virgin Atlantic flight down to Saint Lucia. Onboard were 148 passengers.

Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus takes nine-plus hours to cover the distance between the UK and Saint Lucia. Photo: Airbus

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Airlines venturing back to Saint Lucia

Virgin Atlantic’s resumption of services sees Hewanorra Airport now offer 11 flights a week up to the United Kingdom. In addition to Virgin’s three flights a week, British Airways is flying in at least daily using Boeing 777 aircraft with alternating departures from the two London Airports.

St Lucia’s Minister for Tourism, Ernest Hilaire, met Saturday’s flight, saying it was a big deal to see Virgin Atlantic back on the island.

“It was a thrill to see the red and white livery of Virgin flying in once again,” he said.

“We want to thank Virgin Atlantic for their commitment to Saint Lucia and the region and look forward to welcoming new and returning passengers over the winter season.

Virgin Atlantic joins several other airlines resuming flights to Saint Lucia. Photo: Airbus

The two British airlines join several North American-based carriers now flying into Hewanorra Airport. American Airlines is jetting in from Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, New York JFK, and Charlotte Douglas Airports.

United Airlines serves Saint Lucia from Chicago O’Hare and New York JFK. Delta Air Lines is regularly flying in from Atlanta. JetBlue sends one of their Airbus A321s down from New York’s JFK and Newark Airports. Air Canada Rouge and WestJet fly in regularly from Toronto.

Virgin Atlantic is the latest in a line of airlines resuming flights to Saint Lucia after a long hiatus. WestJet returned last month. At the time, WestJet was one of three international airlines to restart flights in as many weeks.

In October, Air Canada Rouge recommended flights down to the island. The flights and the tourists they bring in are hugely important for the local economy, which relies heavily on tourism. Over half of Saint Lucia locals work in or around the tourism sector.