UK long-haul carrier Virgin Atlantic has resumed passenger flights, with an initial service between London Heathrow (LHR) and Hong Kong (HKG) after a three-month suspension because of COVID-19.
Virgin Atlantic chief customer officer Corneel Koster said the airline’s staff have been “working tirelessly to implement new measures and evolve our customer experience," adding: “The health and wellbeing of our customers and crew is at the center of all our operations and that includes social distancing at the airport and onboard wherever possible, meticulous cleaning of the aircraft and individual health packs for all customers."
Passenger flights from London Heathrow to New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) also resumed on July 21.
"This marks the operationalization of the first three route launches that Virgin announced on June 22," Virgin said in a statement. At the time, Virgin also outlined plans to resume Heathrow-originating services to Barbados (BGI) from Aug. 1, San Francisco (SFO) and Shanghai (PVG) on Aug. 4, Tel Aviv (TLV) on Aug. 9, Miami (MIA) on Aug. 18, Lagos (LOS) on Aug. 23, Orlando (MCO) on Aug. 24 and Atlanta (ATL) on Aug. 25.
Further Heathrow-originating services will be added from September, including Delhi (DEL), Johannesburg (JNB), Las Vegas (LAS), Mumbai (BOM), Seattle (SEA) and Washington (IAD).
From October, Antigua (ANU), Boston (BOS), Grenada (GND), Montego Bay (MBJ) in Jamaica and Tobago (TAB) will resume, along with Manchester (MAN) to BGI. The resumption of service comes after Virgin Atlantic unveiled a long-awaited restructuring July 14 based on a new five-year business plan, which aims to return the carrier to profitability from 2022.
Virgin secured funding from a variety of sources, including the parent Virgin Group and Delta Air Lines, as well as existing creditors and new investors.
Photo credit: Nigel Howarth / Aviation Week