Virgin Atlantic revamps Manchester- LA route

Thursday, April 28, 2011, 19:55 by Aviation Correspondent

Virgin Atlantic has begun flying Boeing 747 jumbo jets between Manchester and Las Vegas twice a week. With this, Virgin becomes the first foreign carrier to offer more than one overseas flight to Las Vegas. The Boeing 747- 400 jets feature 14 upper class seats 58 premium economy seats and 379 seats in the economy class. The flight is scheduled to leave Manchester International Airport on Sundays and Thursdays at 12:15 p.m, local time, arriving at McCarran at 2:50 p.m the same day. The return flight makes departure from Las Vegas at 5:20 p.m arriving in Manchester at 11:05 a.m. the next day.
The British Midland International Airlines [BMI] had explored the possibilities of a Manchester – Las Vegas route in 2004, when it began flying non stop flights three times a week between Manchester, England and Las Vegas. The route was a success, according to the Airlines, which gave the people residing in Northwest England a chance to access to Las Vegas without changing planes in London. However, the route was removed from the new carrier’s plans when BMI merged with Lufthansa in 2009.

The news on Virgin Atlantic’s new venture was the second new international route news at McCarran International airport in four days. Earlier on Thursday, the Mexican discount carrier Volaris began daily flights between Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and Las Vegas. Further, the airline officials have announced that it would add two more flights a week between the two cities in May.
The Virgin Atlantic Airline officials said that they expect around 40,000 passengers a year to travel from Manchester to Las Vegas in Virgin and the company has already booked 5000 seats in advance. It is in addition to the 250,000 a year Virgin expects to fly from the Gatwick International Airport, London to Las Vegas.

While the representatives and executives from the Las Vegas convention and Visitors Authority shared positive note on the early high bookings, the airline officials were not confident enough to announce additional flights at the current stage.
According to LVCVA estimates, the airline has flown about 2 million passengers since it started its London service to Las Vegas in the year 2000 culminating in an economic impact of $1 billion.

A representative of the Virgin Atlantic’s commercial wing expressed their hope of increasing the number of flights at a welcoming ceremony organized at the McCarran International Airport after the arrival of Virgin 747-400.

The senior Vice President of marketing for the LVCVA commented on the various prospects that the McCarran’s new Terminal 3 gates bring in. Besides being able to process around 2,000 passengers an hour, the new facility provides an even better selling point for international carriers owing to the presence of an expanded U.S customs.

Simultaneous with Manchester-Las Vegas launch, Virgin began flying its new twin-engine Airbus A330-300 between England and Orlando, Fla. With two milestone innovations, Virgin had a truly amazing weekend.

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