Monday, 11 November 2013

Virgin Atlantic, Delta Unveil First Combined Summer Schedule [ TechSc1ence ]

For the first time since Delta Air Lines bought 49 percent of Virgin Atlantic Airways, the two airlines released a joint summer schedule of flights. The new schedule is designed to maximize the combined slots and resources of both airlines.

The new schedule starts on March 30, just three days before Delta moves its arrival and departure terminal to Virgin Atlantic’s in Heathrow Terminal 3. This includes its London to New York-JFK, London to Boston and new London to Seattle services. The two airlines will co-locate on all New York and Boston flights to London Heathrow.

The move will allow for easier connections and a more seamless experience for customers flying with Virgin and Delta, including access to Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse for all business class passengers.

“We already co-locate together at New York’s JFK airport and moving some of Delta’s key business flights to join Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 will enhance convenience, and reduce connection times,” said Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO.

Delta, in co-operation with Virgin Atlantic, also will operate a second daily service between Heathrow and Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport beginning June 2. The service will feature early morning arrivals in London. This additional flight will complement Delta’s previously announced new West Coast route between Seattle and Heathrow, which will launch on March 30.

Virgin Atlantic is moving its VS1 Heathrow to Newark service from a late afternoon departure to a morning departure. This flight will appeal to business travelers by allowing for ‘same-day meetings’ to be held in the New Jersey area, while an earlier departure on the return flight means passengers can be in central London for the start of the working day.

Altogether, the two airlines will fly nine daily flights between Heathrow and New York with departures every 30 minutes during the early evening peak and then hourly until 10.30 p.m. from JFK to Heathrow and a spread of seven daily flights from Heathrow to JFK, including two late afternoon and early evening departures. It also includes two departures to and from Newark.

Virgin Atlantic has also retimed its Heathrow to Boston service to depart two hours later in the afternoon. This offers more flexibility for the two airlines’ customers with Delta’s Heathrow to Boston service departing in the morning. Virgin Atlantic’s evening departure from Boston will also move two hours later, giving greater schedule choice to travelers. In September Delta and Virgin Atlantic welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve the carriers’ joint venture by granting antitrust immunity on routes between North America and the U.K.