Press Release:– Virgin Atlantic has announced an expanded flying operation out of Manchester Airport for Summer 2020, while Virgin Holidays has unveiled five brand new retail stores, offering increased choice for leisure customers travelling from the Manchester region and an immersive way for customers to book holidays.
Flights to Barbados from Manchester will increase from two times a week to three times a week for the whole of the summer season, offering an additional 10,000 seats
In September, the airline announced it would be adding 30,000 additional seats from the North West of England for Winter 2019.
Today’s announcement signals continued growth at its Northern base with an expanded summer schedule to Barbados. The increased capacity to Barbados will contribute to a total of 43,000 extra seats out of Manchester – an 11% capacity increase compared to Summer 2019.
Together with partners Virgin Connect (Europe’s largest regional airline, formerly Flybe) and Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic now offers more choice to passengers than ever before and the family of airlines will have more flights than any other airline at Manchester Airport. Together they will offer almost 800,000 long haul seats to popular destinations for Summer 2020.
To complement the capacity growth, Virgin Holidays will be investing in five new retail stores, creating 28 jobs, and offering customers the opportunity to book their holiday in a fun, immersive atmosphere.
The stores, which are all scheduled to open this year, will be in Birmingham, Derby, Peterborough, Romford and Stoke-on-Trent. The five new stores are in addition to seven already-scheduled openings in Canterbury, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and St Albans, all of which are on track to open before the end of the December.
Juha Jarvinen, EVP Commercial at Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“Today’s announcement outlines the latest phase in our growth strategy at Manchester, our home in the North. In September we committed to 30,000 additional seats from Manchester for Winter 2019 and today, we are expanding on that with an extra 43,000 seats to key leisure destinations for Summer 2020, which is a clear sign of our ambition to offer increased choice to our customers travelling from the North West.
“With a greater number of flights to some of our most popular destinations, alongside a brand new iconic Clubhouse scheduled to open next Spring, we’re confident our customers will be delighted by the Virgin Atlantic experience in Manchester.”
Hon. Kerrie Symmonds, Barbados’ Minister of Tourism & International Transport, said:
“We are pleased that our partner Virgin Atlantic has bought into our vision of increasing Barbados’ presence in northern England. We are heartened that Virgin is supportive of, Barbados’ further expansion into Ireland and Scotland, and our efforts to harness these behind the gateway markets to extend Barbados’ reach across the United Kingdom.
“The introduction of this additional flight in Summer 2020 helps to fill the traditional summer trough period and is the first step to Barbados having three weekly flights, year-round, from Manchester.”
Rach Wilton, Head of Retail at Virgin Holidays, said:
“We’re delighted to continue to grow the Virgin Holidays experience for our customers with five further stores joining our expanding retail portfolio. We aim to create a truly immersive experience for our customers, which begins right at the point of booking. We want customers to be able to imagine themselves on their holiday from the moment they enter our stores by bringing the sights, sounds and tastes of their holiday to their home town.”
Last month, Virgin Atlantic announced it will be bringing its iconic Clubhouse lounge to Manchester for the first time from Spring 2020.
Upper Class customers and Gold Card members can take advantage of the exclusive space before their flight, which will include a la carte dining and a full-service bar, quiet working spaces and a spa, allowing passengers to relax and rejuvenate before they depart.