Virgin Atlantic to Deploy 747 at Glasgow

UK carrier Virgin Atlantic Airways has revealed it will deploy a Boeing 747-400 on its seasonal Florida route from Glasgow Airport during the entire 2014 summer season, offering an additional 14,000 seats on its 60 return flights between the Scottish city and Orlando International between April and October - a 35.1 per cent capacity increase.

The popular link, which has operated since 2007, has witnessed a strong response from the travelling public with annual rises in demand.  "Our partnership with Virgin Atlantic has been a huge success story. Since the Florida flights began in 2007 passenger numbers have grown every year, and Virgin Atlantic has continued adding extra capacity to accommodate the increasing number of Scots travelling to Florida,” said Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport.  “The Boeing 747 is an iconic aircraft and we are delighted it will carry thousands more Scots on their summer holiday next year.”

Virgin Atlantic currently operates the Glasgow - Orlando link using a 314-seat Airbus A330-300 but already substitutes a 747 during the peak months of June and July when Scottish schools are on holiday.  This year the carrier is also introducing the 747 during the month of October this year for the first time to meet additional demand around the school holiday week.

“Since we launched our Glasgow services six years ago we have seen a steady increase in demand and we are delighted to bring our iconic Boeing 747s on to the route for the full summer season,” said Edmond Rose, director of airline planning, Virgin Atlantic.  “Glasgow is an extremely important market for Virgin Atlantic and we are working really closely with the team at Glasgow airport and as we continue to grow demand for Virgin Atlantic’s flights from Scotland.”

Virgin Atlantic is the only carrier to provide scheduled links from Glasgow to Orlando International, although it, and its sister business Virgin Holidays, face indirect competition from the activities of Thomson Airways and its tour operator partners Thomson Holidays and First Choice as well as Thomas Cook Airlines and its affiliate travel entities.

Thomas Cook Airlines introduced flights between Glasgow and Orlando Sanford in summer 2008 and Thomson Airways followed from summer 2009.  The latter is due to introduce its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the transatlantic route from July this year, a few months later than originally planned due to the late delivery of its first aircraft.

In the table below we look at traffic demand between Glasgow and Orlando International over the past five years.  The data from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shows that passenger numbers have grown six fold from just 5,370 passengers in 2007 when Virgin Atlantic made its debut on the route to 32,711 last year.  In total, demand has risen 509.1 per cent between 2007 and 2012 with seat capacity growing 654.2 per cent during the corresponding period.



Passenger Numbers

% change on previous year



2.5 %



120.7 %



37.1 %



(-9.7) %