Virgin Atlantic to compete with BA on London and Manchester routes


Virgin Atlantic will go head to head with rival British Airways (BA) on routes between London and Manchester next year after unveiling plans to make its first foray into the domestic short-haul market.

The airline announced plans to operate three daily return flights from London’s Heathrow to Manchester airport in northwest England from March 2013, providing competition to BA’s short-haul service.

Virgin Atlantic claims that BA, part of IAG, operates a monopoly on the Heathrow to Manchester route after its takeover of UK carrier bmi this year. “The airline believes competition on this route has been neglected in the remedy process and aims to provide choice for the 650,000 passengers who travel between the two cities,” Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway said.

The new route will be Virgin’s first move into domestic flights and will feed its long-haul services from Heathrow. It also plans to launch flights between London and Scotland in the future.