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Virgin Atlantic continues expansion drive with extra services to key destinations worldwide

6-Dec-2005

LONDON (Virgin Management) - Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced that it plans to continue its expansion drive by increasing services to many of its key business and leisure routes in the next month.

Services to Mumbai will increase from three services per week to daily from today, its six-weekly Shanghai flights will also become daily from 7 December followed by daily services to Cape Town over the peak winter season from 29 January to 25 March 2006. Flights to Las Vegas have increased by 50% already this year with a fifth weekly service being added in July and a sixth weekly service launched in September.

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

“I am delighted that Virgin Atlantic is continuing to increase its frequency on significant business and leisure routes including Mumbai, Shanghai, Cape Town and Las Vegas.

“Shanghai was a landmark route for us as it was the first route Virgin Atlantic had been granted the rights to fly on before British Airways. From day one Las Vegas has been extremely popular with our passengers and we hope to be able to offer a daily service from next year.

“Cape Town has always been one of our most popular destinations and there has been a high demand from both leisure and business travellers to increase our services so we are very happy that we can increase from two to three services per week during the peak winter season and then to daily during February and March.
“Mumbai is one of our newest routes, launched in March this year, thanks to the new liberal bilateral air services agreement we are able now to launch daily services from Heathrow.

“The demand for popular long haul routes continues to rise and Virgin Atlantic is committed to sustain and build upon its growth with further route expansion next year to Dubai, Virgin Atlantic’s first Middle Eastern destination, and Jamaica, the eighth Caribbean island on our route map.”

Virgin Atlantic launched flights between London Heathrow and Mumbai on 27 March this year. Following the recent bilateral agreement between the UK and Indian governments Virgin Atlantic is now able to increase these services from three per week to a daily service from 1 December on an Airbus 340-300 aircraft. All flights will depart Heathrow at 21:30 arriving into Mumbai at 11:55 the following day. Flights will depart Mumbai at 14:55 and arrive at Heathrow at 19:35.

Services between Heathrow and Shanghai began in May 1999 and will increase from six services per week to a daily service from 7 December this year on an Airbus 340-600 aircraft. All flights will depart Heathrow at 16:00 arriving into Shanghai at 11:15 the following day. Flights will depart Shanghai at 13:30 and arrive at Heathrow at 17:50.

The twice-weekly services between Heathrow and Cape Town will increase to seven services per week during the winter season. The current scheduled twice-weekly service will increase to three services per week between 7 December 2005 and 25 January 2006. From 29 January 2006 until the end of the winter season on 25 March 2006, services will increase to seven per week. The new Wednesday service will start from 7 December, and will depart from Heathrow at 18:30 and arrive in Cape Town at 08:30 the following day. The return flight will depart on Thursdays at 12.25 from Cape Town and arrive at Heathrow the same day at 22.40.

From 29 January 2006, the daily services will operate at a retimed schedule for the period up to 25 March 2006. Flights will depart every day from Heathrow at 18.00 arriving into Cape Town at 08.00 the next day. Return flights will depart Cape Town at 23.10 and arrive into Heathrow at 09.25 the following day. Flights in December and January will be operated with a Boeing 747-400 aircraft and from 29 January flights will be operated with an Airbus 340-300 aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic currently flies to 26 destinations worldwide. Services to Dubai will launch in March 2006 and services to Jamaica will launch in July 2006.

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