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Virgin Atlantic expands US network ahead of international travel reopening

With the US government’s announcement to ease restrictions on international travel in November, Virgin Atlantic Airways is adding six of its US routes that were suspended at the start of the pandemic, doubling its US operations.

From tomorrow, the UK-based airline is restarting flights from London Heathrow to San Francisco, followed by the resumption of flights from the UK capital to Orlando and Las Vegas next month. November will also bring the resumption of flights from Manchester to New York and Orlando, then reconnection with a route to Atlanta in December.


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Virgin Atlantic, 49% owned by Delta Air Lines, currently operates only five transatlantic routes to the United States: from London Heathrow to New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Boston.

A surprise announcement in September that the Biden administration was overhauling the US system for international travel and lifting the ban on overseas travel for fully vaccinated visitors from November immediately fueled demand, and Virgin bookings. Atlantic climbed 600% overnight.

Richard Branson’s flagship airline expands its policy of offering unlimited free changes to flights and travel dates for its customers, who may be concerned about the risk of renewed border locks and restrictions, and expands its changes reservation until April 2023.

The US government has not set a specific start date for lifting the current bans on arrivals of foreign nationals, saying only it will come in early November. Bloomberg reported that officials who attended Thursday’s virtual meeting between G7 health and transport ministers suggested the reopening may not take place until mid-month.

The airline also announced that it was expanding its operations in the Caribbean due to “a significant increase in consumer demand” and that it would restore links between its London hub and Saint Lucia, as well as the addition of flights to Saint-Vincent and the Bahamas. The carrier will also launch its first international flights from Edinburgh, Scotland to Barbados.

Virgin Atlantic had filed for bankruptcy in the United States after the pandemic decimated demand for air travel last year and averted collapse in England thanks to a £ 1.2 billion bailout (1.6 billion) provided by homeowners and lenders after the UK government refused to spend state funds on a bailout.

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