A Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330 landed in Barbados (BGI) on Dec. 8 having departed Edinburgh (EDI) earlier that day, marking the first-ever international flight operated by the SkyTeam carrier from the Scottish capital.
The EDI-BGI route, which will be operated 2X-weekly, becomes the only nonstop connection between Scotland and the Caribbean. Virgin Atlantic additionally plans to operate 2X-weekly A330 service between EDI and Orlando (MCO) from March 2022.
While Virgin Atlantic is deploying transatlantic flights from EDI for the first time, SkyTeam partner Delta Air Lines—with which Virgin Atlantic operates a transatlantic joint venture—flies to New York Kennedy (JFK) and Boston (BOS) from EDI. Fellow SkyTeam member Air France KLM operates service from EDI to both Paris de Gaulle (CDG) and Amsterdam (AMS).
“The new service [to BGI] aims to capture the pent-up demand to visit and reconnect with family and loved ones as well as sunseekers looking to explore the idyllic island, with easy onward connections to the wider Caribbean,” EDI said in a statement. “The service will also offer an efficient cargo service … presenting new opportunities for companies looking to export and import Scottish products between Scotland and the Caribbean.”
Virgin Atlantic noted that Scottish whisky and smoked salmon will be among the products it will transport to Barbados.
“Welcoming Virgin Atlantic to its new home in Scotland is hugely exciting and I know seeing that famous Virgin tailfin at Edinburgh Airport is something that has created a buzz across the campus and with our passengers,” EDI CEO Gordon Dewar said.
“Commencing international flights from Edinburgh marks an exciting new chapter for Virgin Atlantic and we couldn’t be happier to be flying from a new home in Scotland,” Virgin Atlantic CCO Juha Javinen said.
Scotland's transport minister Graeme Dey noted that the airline industry “has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” adding: “It’s very encouraging to see the shoots of recovery with this new service.”