Published on Thursday, October 17, 2019

Virgin steps up campaign to break Heathrow 'monopoly'

A new poll commissioned by Virgin Atlantic has revealed that the British public supports increased competition between airlines operating out of Heathrow Airport.

The survey of 2,000 passengers by Populus found 57% of all respondents want more choice.

It also shows that 36% of people flying out of a UK airport have connected at a European hub to reach their final destination, because it was cheaper than connecting through Heathrow, or because no connecting flights existed between Heathrow and their local airport.

But 59% of respondents saying they would choose to connect through the airport rather than via a European hub, compared to just 8% who would not.

"It's crystal clear that the British public wants more choice at Heathrow Airport. Virgin Atlantic is best positioned to tackle the lack of competition head on, as the second flag carrier that our country so desperately needs. Change is not a choice but a necessity,' said Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic CEO.

"We have outlined our ambitions to create effective competition when Heathrow expands by proposing 84 new routes, linking domestic and European flights to international destinations, benefitting passengers through more choice and lower fares.

"With a third runway due to open from 2026, the government has a unique opportunity to transform competition at the airport by re-assessing the way take-off and landing slots are allocated. This once in a generation opportunity cannot be missed."

Weiss will outline Virgin's plans in a keynote speech to politicians and industry representatives at the Airlines 2050 conference in London today.

He will also launch the airline's new campaign website, which will allow passengers to directly lobby their local MP to ensure there is more competition at Heathrow.

Last month, Virgin Atlantic laid out its route plans for when the third runway opens including new flights to Kolkata, Jakarta and Panama City.

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