8 SEPTEMBER 2014
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Virgin Atlantic Little Red is scheduled to move from Heathrow T1 to T2 next Wednesday 10 September. It will surely happen but the future of Richard Branson’s domestic airline remains in doubt according to the Sunday Times Business Editor, Dominic O’Connell. A New Zealander, O’Connell is well tuned to the aviation scene having served time as Transport Editor at TTG, the travel industry weekly.
Little Red arrived at more or less the same time in early 2013 as Virgin’s CEO Craig Kreeger but its gestation had been as a result of the bmi collapse when its owner Lufthansa decided to call time on the former British Midland Airways and its Heathrow flights. Rather than give British Airways a total monopoly of domestic services at the London hub Virgin was allowed to take over slots to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester. The Virgin expectation was that it would pick up a mixture of connecting traffic and point to point. The curious name did not help and its home at T3 has no domestic gates and transfers to T1 were required. Rather than invest in new aircraft and airport services Virgin contracted Aer Lingus to supply aircraft and pilots.
What happens to the slots if Virgin Red goes? Will Aer Lingus be interested having bid originally for the services? See TTG Awards Evening and Virgin Atlantic drops and adds in this issue. www.virgin-atlantic.com/Little_Red
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