VIRGIN Airlines has vowed to go “head-to-head” with British Airways as it announced details of its domestic flights between Edinburgh and London Heathrow.
The launch of the “Little Red” service will see the company run domestic flights for the first time in its 29-year history, in a move expected to benefit passengers with greater choice of flights and more competition on prices.
As well as six daily round trips between the two capitals, there will also be four between London and Manchester, and a further three between London and Aberdeen.
The Edinburgh to London service will take to the skies for the first time on April 5, with starting return fares of £98.18 available until March 10.
A statement released by Virgin read: “After successfully bidding to the European Commission for the Heathrow slots made available after British Airways’ parent company IAG took over bmi, the airline that flies in the face of ordinary is restoring competition on these three routes which have faced a monopoly since that takeover.”
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic founder and president, said: “Virgin Atlantic has been on an incredible journey since we started with a single plane 29 years ago. Little Red represents the next step on that journey as we go head to head with British Airways to provide domestic flights that deliver Virgin Atlantic’s rock and roll spirit as well as real value for money.”
According to the company, passengers on each flight will be treated to the “world-renowned” Virgin customer service, which includes “free 23kg luggage check-ins, pre-assigned seats, complimentary snacks and drinks and even hot breakfasts on early morning flights.”
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “We’re focused on providing Scotland with choice both in terms of routes and carriers whilst extending its reach across the world. This new regular service does exactly that, giving choice to Heathrow and opening up a new set of onward destinations.”
Virgin has also set up various exclusive branded partnerships, including “plane crisps”, manufactured by Tyrells from miniature potatoes and miniature spirits from Barcardi Martini. In an effort to cater to their Scottish customers, Irn-Bru will also be available on the Edinburgh to London service.
Many in the Capital will also be pleased to hear that a partnership with Krispy Kreme doughnuts could also be on the cards, with Virgin stating that it is “exploring further exciting on-board product offerings” with the US company and with The Collective Dairy yoghurts brand.
Krispy Kreme opened its first Scottish store at Hermiston Gait on February 13, leading to traffic chaos and queues of up to three hours as eager confectionary fans waited to sample their wares.