VIRGIN Atlantic Airways announced a fourth daily service between London Heathrow and New York’s John F Kennedy airports providing a seamless connection with its Dubai route. The new service will commence on October 28 and will complement the airline’s existing flight schedule between the two cities, allowing Virgin Atlantic to build upon its strong performance on this key route.
“New York has always been important to Virgin Atlantic – it’s where it all started with our first flight from London to Newark in 1984, and last year we carried more than half a million passengers between Heathrow and JFK,” said Brad West country manager UAE.
The extra service comes during a period of investment in product developments for Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class passengers. In the last six months the airline has unveiled a new Upper Class Suite – operating initially on its morning service to New York – a multi-million pound Clubhouse at JFK airport, an enhanced fine dining meal service, and a Grey Goose Loft at its Heathrow Clubhouse.
“We have managed to grow our customer numbers across the Atlantic in the face of increased capacity and bigger airline alliances. The new service combined with our recent product enhancements, will enable us to continue to increase our market share into New York as we offer our award winning product and service to even more customers,” added West.
The schedule of the new service will give connecting passengers greater flexibility, with timings to give a seamless connection onto other Virgin Atlantic routes including Delhi, Accra, and many of its African destinations.
Virgin Atlantic has also announced that it will become the first British airline to provide passengers with a service to make and receive phone calls in the air at 35,000 ft. The industry leading move also allows people to send and receive text messages, emails and have web access via GPRS.
The announcement comes as Virgin Atlantic officially unveils its new aircraft – the Airbus A330-300, which is part of a £100 million ($158 million) investment and features a redesigned Upper Class cabin with a ‘technology hub’ to connect a smart phone, USB or tablet device. The new mobile phone system will be available throughout the aircraft in all cabins and is targeted at business travellers.
West says: “We have listened to what customers want and connectivity in the air is always on the wish list.”
The service will be available on the new A330 aircraft currently flying from London to New York and will also feature on the airline’s B747 aircraft, which are currently going through a £50 million ($79 million) refurbishment. By the end of 2012, nearly 20 aircraft will provide the service.