Sunday, 26 August 2012

Virgin steps it up a level

THE roll-out of Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class suite has begun this summer in what is proving a busy year for the carrier.
The development of the new cabin comes at a cost of £100million, with rollout continuing across its fleet of new A330 aircraft. It will also feature on Virgin’s order for B787 Dreamliner aircraft when delivery begins in 2014.
Virgin’s CEO Steve Ridgway says, “Upper Class was a brilliant revolution when it was first launched [in 2003], but this takes the concept to another level.
“It has really stood the test of time. It’s all about features that take away the pain for business travellers. We have other people interested in this design and ultimately we will probably market it and sell it on – but not to overt competitors,” he adds.
                                                                               Virgin Atlantic A330

Virgin has already launched services from London Heathrow to Vancouver (in May) and London Gatwick to Cancun (July 7th), is re-launching operations to Mumbai in the autumn and adds a sixth daily service between London Heathrow and New York at the end of October. It also hopes to launch services from Heathrow to Moscow in 2013.
“New York remains a big market and we have an unassailable product on this service now with the new Upper Class suite and lounges at JFK and Newark airports,” says Ridgway.
“It’s where it all started with our first flight from London to Newark in 1984. Last year we carried more than half a million passengers between Heathrow and JFK. We have managed to grow our customer numbers across the Atlantic in the face of increased capacity and bigger airline alliances.”
The carrier has also opened a new $7million Clubhouse at JFK and is expected to open another at Newark later this year.

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