13 OCTOBER 2014

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Article from BTNews 13 OCTOBER 2014

Bye-bye Little Red

Virgin Atlantic has announced its intention to cease its Little Red operation next year.

Daily services between Heathrow and Manchester will continue until the end of March 2015, while its flights between Heathrow and Edinburgh and Aberdeen will continue throughout summer 2015 with the final flights in September 2015.

According to Virgin, Little Red was launched in March 2013 “as an attempt to reintroduce consumer choice on key domestic services after British Airways’ takeover of bmi gifted them a monopoly on these routes.”

Since then, Little Red has flown more than a million passengers between London, Scotland and Manchester and bookings initially grew steadily. However, the demand has been predominantly from point to point customers rather than connecting traffic and a high level of connections onto Virgin Atlantic’s long haul network was always important to the success of Little Red.

Sir Richard Branson said: "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. To remedy this, we were offered a meagre package of slots with a number of constraints on how to use them and we decided to lease a few planes on a short term basis to give it our best shot. The odds were stacked against us and sadly we just couldn’t attract enough corporate business on these routes.”   www.virgin-atlantic.com

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