Published on Monday, June 22, 2020

Virgin pushes back relaunch of Shanghai and Orlando routes

Virgin Atlantic has pushed back the planned restart of its Heathrow to Orlando and Shanghai routes from July to the following month.

The airline revealed the changes as it announced it will start more routes in August.

Orlando had been earmarked as one of the first two routes, scheduled for July 20, when Virgin announced earlier this month it was to resume services in July. The route from Heathrow is now planned to recommence at the end of August, while Orlando services from Glasgow and Belfast will not operate until next year.

Shanghai, which had been due to restart on July 21 will now resume on August 4.

Virgin said: "Following travel restrictions in many destinations, coupled with uncertainty around when customer demand will return, Virgin Atlantic is continually reviewing its flying programme.

"As a result, we have taken the decision to delay restarting some of our services. Our Heathrow to Shanghai service will now restart on August 4 and our Heathrow to Orlando service will resume on August 24.

"For customers impacted by these changes, there's no need to contact us right now, we'll be in touch with more information within the next 10 days on what these changes mean and to discuss options, including rebooking on to a different service. Any customers who made their bookings through a third party or travel agent, should contact them to discuss options.

"Seasonal services from Glasgow and Belfast to Orlando will resume for selected dates in summer 2021. We will continue to monitor our network on an ongoing basis and expect more flights from London Heathrow and Manchester to resume in September and October 2020."

The other July relaunch routes will go ahead as planned. Hong Kong will recommence on July 20, New York JFK and Los Angeles will follow the day after.

Virgin has now announced 17 other relaunch dates for Heathrow services, in addition to the new schedules for Shanghai and Orlando.

Barbados will start on August 1, followed by Shanghai and San Francisco on August 4 and Tel Aviv on August 9.

Later in the month, Miami, Lagos and Atlanta will launch. Virgin is planning to restart its Orlando service from Manchester and Heathrow on August 24, subject to CDC approval.

Washington, Seattle, Las Vegas, Mumbai, Delhi and Johannesburg will restart in September, Boston, Montego Bay, Antigua, Grenada and Tobago will start in October, as will the airline's Manchester-Barbados service.

To comply with health and safety, Virgin will provide a personal health pack containing medical-grade face masks as a requirement to be worn onboard, surface wipes and hand gel.

A simplified hot food service in Economy and Premium Economy will be served, while, in Upper Class, customers will receive a choice of hot meals, desserts, including cheese and biscuits, which will be delivered to seats on a tray. A 'temporary limited alcohol offering' will be available in all cabins.

Chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen said: "As countries around the world begin to relax travel restrictions, we look forward to welcoming our customers back onboard and flying them safely to many destinations across our network.

"We are monitoring external conditions extremely closely, in particular the travel restrictions many countries have in place including the 14-day quarantine policy for travellers entering the UK.

"We know that as the Covid-19 crisis subsides, air travel will be a vital enabler of the UK's economic recovery.

"Therefore, we are calling for UK Government to continually review its quarantine measures and instead look at a multi-layered approach of carefully targeted public health and screening measures, including air bridges, which will support a successful and safe restart of international air travel for passengers and businesses."

Picture: Eduardo Neri Du from Pixabay

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