We said it would never work

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP October 8, 2014 19:38

We said it would never work

Virgin Atlantic has announced its intention to cease its Little Red operation next year. Its daily services between London Heathrow and Manchester will continue until the end of March 2015, while its flights between London Heathrow and Edinburgh and Aberdeen will continue throughout summer 2015 with the final flights in September 2015.

Little Red was launched in March 2013 after British Airways’ takeover of bmi gifted them a monopoly on these routes. Virgin Atlantic maintains that over the past eighteen months, “Little Red has delivered for consumers, leading the way on customer service and on-time performance at Heathrow”. Although bookings grew steadily for the service in the first part of 2014 with the airline enjoying excellent customer feedback, demand has been predominantly from point to point customers rather than connecting traffic. High levels of connections onto Virgin Atlantic’s long haul network have always been important to the success of Little Red.

Chief Executive Craig Kreeger has committed to returning Virgin Atlantic to profit by the end of this year and the airline is on track to deliver that, however Little Red has unfortunately not been able to make a positive contribution to Virgin Atlantic’s network.
“Little Red came about through an enduring passion at Virgin Atlantic to make a difference for our customers. We really wanted it to be a success and everyone involved worked extremely hard and has given it their best efforts,” said Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Craig Kreeger. “It was always a huge challenge on behalf of the consumer, as the totally inadequate number of slots made available by the European Commission did not deliver close to BA’s network position, even when supplemented by our own slots to fly between Heathrow and Manchester. The time lag between the takeover of bmi and our entering the market also meant Little Red initially faced an uphill battle to win recognition and convert customers to its services.”

President of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson, said: “When the competition authorities allowed British Airways to take over British Midland and all of its slots, we feared there was little we could do to challenge BA’s huge domestic and European network built through decades of dominance.

“To remedy this, we were offered a meagre package of slots with a number of constraints on how to use them and we decided to lease a few planes on a short-term basis to give it our best shot. The odds were stacked against us and sadly we just couldn’t attract enough corporate business on these routes. We will stop flying the Little Red services between Manchester and London at the end of March 2015 and the Aberdeen and Edinburgh services at the end of September 2015.

“The team did their absolute best to make a go of it and I thank them all for their amazing efforts. In the meantime, keep flying on Little Red where you’ll continue to get amazing offers and great service.”

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP October 8, 2014 19:38