Virgin Atlantic drops YVR route, will focus on US market

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After serving travelers between Vancouver and London, England for just two years, Virgin Atlantic announced they’re departing YVR permanently to focus on UK-US routes.

On Wednesday, Virgin Atlantic revealed their plans to significantly boost their business by 2018. The carrier says they are making several changes to their network, including dropping service to Vancouver, Mumbai, Tokyo, and Cape Town and upping service between London Heathrow and American cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Detroit.

For YVR, those changes are upon us shortly. “The summer seasonal service from London Heathrow to Vancouver will not return after this season’s flying programme is completed on 11 October 2014,” says Virgin Atlantic in a press release.

BC Business reports that the cancellation of the route does not mean job losses on the ground in Vancouver. Sarah Coggins, head of communications for North America
 at Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., told the publication Virgin employs just one contracted worker in sales and used an outsourced airport team.

Coggins also explained to BC Business it came down to what customers wanted, and, Vancouver just wasn’t it:”[U]nfortunately Vancouver hasn’t proven to be as popular as we’d have hoped and we have a stronger demand in alternative markets.”

Vancouver was the only city in Canada Virgin serviced, offering five weekly summertime flights between YVR and London. The carrier arrived with much celebration of their first Vancouver flight in May 2012, with Premier Christy Clark and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson marking the occasion at YVR.

Anne Murray, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at YVR issued the following statement about the news:

“We are disappointed that Virgin Atlantic will no longer fly direct from London to Vancouver. Virgin’s strategic business decision to maximize its joint-venture partnership with Delta Air Lines affected a number of routes, including service cancellations at three other airports.

YVR continues to offer passengers direct service to London via several other airline partners.”

Featured image: Province of British Columbia/Flickr

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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