Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic are to strengthen their UK – US networks by sharing flights, which will include the first London – Portland service.
From the summer of 2017, the two airlines will optimise their joint network, which they say will offer customers more choice and flexibility. The changes for Delta will include four times a week Heathrow – Portland flights from 26 May 2017, adding a second Heathrow – Detroit flight from 26 March, replacing Virgin’s daily service, and a third Heathrow – Atlanta frequency, taking over from Virgin’s second daily flight from 25 May.
From 26 March, Virgin will take over Delta’s daily Heathrow – Seattle service and Delta’s daily Manchester – New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) flight from 25 May. Delta will resume Manchester – JFK services from winter 2017.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo senior vice president, John Lloyd says Seattle is a very important market for UK – US trade, while increasing services from Manchester will be beneficial to customers in the North of England and Scotland. He says: “By increasing our commitment to Manchester, we will also be reducing the need for customers in the North of England and Scotland to have to truck cargo to London, which is going to save them time and money.”
Virgin Atlantic executive vice president commercial, Erik Varwijk says: “In Manchester, deploying our Airbus A330-300 aircraft on this route will allow us to further meet the growing demand from the Manchester market, now offering a total of six direct flights to the U.S. after the recently announced new services to Boston and San Francisco.”
Delta senior vice president trans-Atlantic, Dwight James says: “Adding a brand new service to Portland while increasing the scale of Delta’s reach across our Atlanta and Detroit hubs provides a comprehensive network of nonstop and connecting destinations for both Delta and Virgin customers.”
The joint services from 26 March 2017 will offer 42 daily nonstop flights between the US and UK, of which 28 will be from Heathrow and 14 between Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast, London Gatwick and Edinburgh to the US.