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Virgin Atlantic Adding London-San Juan Route  
User currently offlineDolphinflyer From Canada, joined May 2005, 197 posts, RR: 1
Posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 11928 times:

Virgin Atlantic adding London-San Juan route

Puerto Rico has landed a new international carrier. The Associated Press reports today that "Virgin Atlantic Airways has signed a deal to start running direct flights between London and Puerto Rico next year. Puerto Rico tourism director Terestella Gonzalez says the weekly flights will generate about $30 million a year in tourism revenue for the island. Gonzalez told local radio Tuesday that each flight will reserve 80% of its 240 seats for visitors who are also booked on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. The first flight is expected to depart London in November 2009," AP writes.

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKYNG2KPBI From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 41 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 11845 times:

What equipment will they be using? Nice to see some Europe-Puerto Rico service.

User currently offlineUPPERDECKFAN From Spain, joined Jun 2007, 992 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 11824 times:



Quoting KYNG2KPBI (Reply 1):
Nice to see some Europe-Puerto Rico service

Don't forget IB's MAD-SJU on A340, IIRC 4x weekly



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User currently offlineKYNG2KPBI From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 41 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 11753 times:



Quoting UPPERDECKFAN (Reply 2):

Quoting KYNG2KPBI (Reply 1):
Nice to see some Europe-Puerto Rico service

Don't forget IB's MAD-SJU on A340, IIRC 4x weekly

I forgot about IB, are they the only european airline? I should have done some research before posting, my bad.


User currently offlineAirJamaica From Jamaica, joined Aug 2006, 2477 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 11695 times:



Quoting Dolphinflyer (Thread starter):
Virgin Atlantic adding London-San Juan route

Didn't they serve SJU back in the day ? Along with BA.



greenheart
User currently offlineAlitaliaMD11 From Spain, joined Dec 2003, 4068 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 11687 times:

Congrats to SJU!

Iberia is currently the only scheduled European carrier to fly to SJU.

Virgin has had some charters to the island in the past with A340-300 aircraft but if these flights are from LGW like many of their other Caribbean flights I imagine it will be operated by a 747-400.



No Vueling No Party
User currently offlineSoxfan From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 862 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 11652 times:



Quoting Dolphinflyer (Thread starter):
Gonzalez told local radio Tuesday that each flight will reserve 80% of its 240 seats for visitors who are also booked on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

According to SeatGuru, 240 seats fill an A340-300.



Pilot: "Request push, which way should we face?" JFK Ground: "You better face the front, sir, or you'll scare the pax!"
User currently offlineHumberside From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 4914 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 11472 times:

The way I see it is thats its a glorified cruise charter with a few extra seats sold by VS directly. Dont mean to burst anyone's bubble but best not to make this out to be more than it is. If the cruise contract goes, this flight goes

[Edited 2008-12-31 11:17:23]


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User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 6729 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 11431 times:



Quoting Humberside (Reply 7):
The way I see it is thats its a glorified cruise charter with a few extra seats sold by VS directly. Dont mean to burst anyone's bubble but best not to make this out to be more than it is. If the cruise contract goes, this flight goes

Agreed, but this has a much better chance of success over VS simply deciding to "try" the market. Presently, Europeans wanting a Caribbean cruise have the choice of Miami or maybe Barbados to meet their ship, now there is another option, there are also other attractions on the island which can get some incremental traffic, if that picks up the cruise side of the project will have been instrumental in creating the new market.

Cheers


User currently offlineJuventus From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 2835 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 11431 times:



Quoting Humberside (Reply 7):
The way I see it is thats its a glorified cruise charter with a few extra seats sold by VS directly. Dont mean to burst anyone's bubble but best not to make this out to be more than it is. If the cruise contract goes, this flight goes

Well that might be, but still---- 'Felicidades a Puerto Rico'.


User currently onlineCharles79 From Puerto Rico, joined Mar 2007, 1322 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 11349 times:



Quoting Juventus (Reply 9):
Well that might be, but still---- 'Felicidades a Puerto Rico'.

My feelings exactly! The cruise deal might be the primary reason but fact remains that now Puerto Ricans will have a direct flight to London vs none at the moment. Plus all those cruise passengers tend to spend a bit of money locally so excellent news for VS and the island.

My parents are excited about it as they have never flown VS before, maybe now they'll give them a try.

Charles


User currently offline2travel2know From Panama, joined Apr 2005, 3580 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 11257 times:

That service surely has something to do with a cruise out of San Juan.
Would dare to say it's with a in conjunction of Virgin Vacation Cruises?
For the record, other than (South) Florida and San Juan, both Santo Domingo and Colón, Panamá are home-ports with cruise departures to the Caribbean.
For what I've seen, that cruise departing Colon, is on a desperate need to carry some European and Northamerican passengers. Most passengers boarding that cruise aren't spending as Royal Caribbean is accustomed on other cruise routes.



I don't work for COPA Airlines!
User currently offlineAA767400 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 2300 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 11225 times:



Quoting AlitaliaMD11 (Reply 5):
Virgin has had some charters to the island in the past with A340-300 aircraft but if these flights are from LGW like many of their other Caribbean flights I imagine it will be operated by a 747-400.

Sure have. This is not a first, take a look at these photos:


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Photo © Carlos Aleman - PR Planespotters




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Photo © Carlos Aleman - PR Planespotters




"The low fares airline."
User currently offlineLeezyjet From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 4041 posts, RR: 54
Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 11017 times:



Quoting Humberside (Reply 7):
The way I see it is thats its a glorified cruise charter with a few extra seats sold by VS directly. Dont mean to burst anyone's bubble but best not to make this out to be more than it is. If the cruise contract goes, this flight goes

I'm sure there is one family who will no doubt be pleased with this route, who just happen to own a private Island that isn't far from Puerto Rico.

 Wink



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User currently offlineAAMDanny From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 338 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 10406 times:

Good look to VS... dont matter how muc of a 'glorified charter' it is, its another destination for there route map! Im sure they would have no trouble filling the other 20% of the seat's onboard that flight!

User currently offlineBreaker1011 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 938 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 10257 times:

No one has clarified - is it LHR or LGW?

So what do you think AA's (or BA's) response to this will be? It's going to be SOMETHING I'm sure. Virgin flying into their SJU hub from LON, not to mention potentially drawing away traffic currently using LHR-MIA... hmm.

Anyone think they'll go for that slot they are squatting on in BOS and use for competing LHR-SJU?



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User currently offlineAirJamaica From Jamaica, joined Aug 2006, 2477 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 10140 times:



Quoting AAMDanny (Reply 14):
Good look to VS... dont matter how muc of a 'glorified charter' it is, its another destination for there route map! Im sure they would have no trouble filling the other 20% of the seat's onboard that flight!

Agree 100%.



greenheart
User currently offlineTheginge From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 1126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 8275 times:



Quoting Breaker1011 (Reply 15):
So what do you think AA's (or BA's) response to this will be? It's going to be SOMETHING I'm sure. Virgin flying into their SJU hub from LON, not to mention potentially drawing away traffic currently using LHR-MIA... hmm.

Possibly not much!


User currently onlineCharles79 From Puerto Rico, joined Mar 2007, 1322 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 8145 times:



Quoting Breaker1011 (Reply 15):
So what do you think AA's (or BA's) response to this will be? It's going to be SOMETHING I'm sure. Virgin flying into their SJU hub from LON, not to mention potentially drawing away traffic currently using LHR-MIA... hmm.

Isn't IB part of OneWorld? I'd guess that they cover OW passengers coming from Europe through MAD. Any other passengers can easily connect to SJU from a nomber of US East Coast ports currently served by AA and/or BA from LON (JFK, BOS, MIA, etc.). Puerto Rico is a beautiful island and a great tourist destination but I get the feeling the numbers aren't there to support more than a handful of n/s services from Europe (even IB's sole flight at the moment is only 4 times a week or so).


User currently offlineUPPERDECKFAN From Spain, joined Jun 2007, 992 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 8107 times:



Quoting Breaker1011 (Reply 15):
So what do you think AA's (or BA's) response to this will be? It's going to be SOMETHING I'm sure. Virgin flying into their SJU hub from LON, not to mention potentially drawing away traffic currently using LHR-MIA... hmm.

No response at all by neither BA nor AA as OneWorld will still be the only alliance with a scheduled non stop link between Europe and P.R. so it wouldn't make any sense to add competition from within the same alliance on such a slim route just to compete with VS.

Keep in mind VS is targeting a low yield leisure traveller, on one side AA FF base out of Puerto Rico can get to Europe on partner IB and on the other side, a high yield BA elite has the option of getting to SJU through MIA or through MAD. IMO P.R. is well covered by OneWorld as it's today.



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User currently offlineSumma767 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2520 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7255 times:



Quoting Dolphinflyer (Thread starter):
each flight will reserve 80% of its 240 seats for visitors who are also booked on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

What airplane does VS have with 240 seats? Don't its LHR A343s have less than 200?

Could it possibly be that VS will base at least one A343 at LGW with less premium, but more economy seats?

Which brings me to an old piece of news, as stated in CH aviation:

"30.03.2008 - Virgin Atlantic (VS/London Heathrow) will add an ex-Etihad Airways (EY/Abu Dhabi) A340-300 in early 2009 to increase its operations from London Gatwick"

Assuming that SJU operated from LGW with an A343, might there be other destinations as well?
Let is be BOG, a route abandoned by BA but that could do well with the rightly configured aircraft.


User currently offlineHumberside From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 4914 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 6573 times:



Quoting Summa767 (Reply 20):
Assuming that SJU operated from LGW with an A343, might there be other destinations as well?
Let is be BOG, a route abandoned by BA but that could do well with the rightly configured aircraft.

Could a LGW-BOG route be done totally on O&D which, unless VS got some feed at the BOG end, it would be?



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User currently offlineSumma767 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2520 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6519 times:



Quoting Humberside (Reply 21):
Could a LGW-BOG route be done totally on O&D which, unless VS got some feed at the BOG end, it would be?

At some point both BA and AV had flights on the route. I don't have figures, but I do know that O&D is strong due to a sizeable colombian community in the UK. Cargo would also be very good. BA flights were always in great demand in economy, just not enough in premium classes. Also, it had an expensive stop in CCS that provided very little traffic (necessary because its 777s could not do the non-stop due to BOG's altitude when laden cargo. No problem for the A340).
Perhaps VS can arrange some onward connections through BOG: UIO, LIM, PTY.
and even if it means a bus ride between airports, connections from London to Asia, South Africa etc. But the main component should be O&D traffic.
-Just a thought-


User currently offlineVAAengineer From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 89 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6507 times:



Quoting Summa767 (Reply 20):
"30.03.2008 - Virgin Atlantic (VS/London Heathrow) will add an ex-Etihad Airways (EY/Abu Dhabi) A340-300 in early 2009 to increase its operations from London Gatwick"

VS will no longer acquire this A340-300 due to many factors including different config, IFE , ETC, VS will soon announce purchase of about 12 airframes and inside info seems to be 8 A330's very soon



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User currently offlineSumma767 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2520 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6415 times:



Quoting VAAengineer (Reply 23):

VS will no longer acquire this A340-300 due to many factors including different config, IFE , ETC, VS will soon announce purchase of about 12 airframes and inside info seems to be 8 A330's very soon

Very interesting. Will some of these be available for the end of the year? Second hand, brand new or a mix?
Also, will at least some of these A330s be based at LGW?
And what 240 seater a/c will operate SJU from November?


25 Bingo : I think even if the Cruise contract goes, there is hope for this route. Having lived in San Juan for 8 years, theres more to the island than just jump
26 Rdwootty : RCCL had used Thomson this year and decided that they would NOT operate next (2009/10) however there was a groundswell from agents in the UK so it app
27 Caaardiff : Interesting. Could these be used to ramp up Orlando flights now they have taken on Travel City Direct?
28 VAAengineer : The A330's or B772's are actually a temporary replacement for the delayed 787 to replace the A340-300 and some expansion Im sure some will be based a
29 PRAirbus : Let's hope this works...VS is a carrier known for its high level of services, SJU is mostly a leisure market, cruise passengers are not fond of high a
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