Virgin Atlantic to Discontinue Little Red Flights

By Jesse Sokolow on 7 October 2014
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Virgin Atlantic plane at London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic plane at London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic announced it will discontinue its short-haul Little Red service next year.  The service currently offers flights between London Heathrow and Manchester, as well as Edinburgh and Aberdeen, Scotland.

Virgin will cease Little Red London-Manchester service at the end of March 2015, while its Little Red flights between London and both Edinburgh and Aberdeen are scheduled to operate through the end of September 2015.

The carrier first launched its Little Red service in March 2013 to compete with British Airways’ domestic flights after the latter acquired British Midland in late 2012.

“When the competition authorities allowed British Airways to take over British Midland and all of its slots, we feared there was little we could do to challenge BA’s huge domestic and European network built through decades of dominance,” said Sir Richard Branson, president of Virgin Atlantic.  “To remedy this, we were offered a meagre package of slots on a short-term basis and decided to lease a couple of planes and give it our best shot,” Branson added.

Little Red, which suffered heavy losses, wet-leased four Airbus A320s from Aer Lingus, painted in Virgin Atlantic livery, under a three-year contract.  The airline’s 12 daily pairs of take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow cannot be sold for use on long-haul routes

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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