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FCAFLYBOY
Topic Author
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Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:23 am

I must say, I'm very surprised by this news, VS has a strong reputation in the Caribbean, and in St Lucia especially. Not only for holiday packages, but also VFR. They have flown this route for many years. Sad to see it go.

BA is not getting a monopoly on not just LGW-CUN but also LGW-UVF (from a Scheduled airline perspective, not including Charter flights).

Service to be suspended June 2020 it seems.

https://www.ttgmedia.com/news/breaking- ... cia--18834
 
Boeing74741R
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:07 am

Here's a more accessible link (the one quoted by the OP needs a subscription)...

https://www.ttgmedia.com/news/news/st-l ... -cut-18838

According to a local news site, the issue is a row over subsidies and VS being unwilling to continue the route without it...

https://stluciatimes.com/virgin-atlanti ... stalemate/
 
mwhcvt
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:47 am

So subsidies go and the route goes that’s piss poor from VS as just a cursory look they seem to be selling on this route quite well, based on a dummy booking, at prices a little below to the same as BA on the route

I wonder if BA has been in recipe of subsidies as well?
Must think up a new one soon, slow moving brain trying to get into gear ;)
 
BWA900
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:01 pm

VS had been shifting their focus as of recent anyway. The new route will be via ANU and is to be served 4x weekly tagging GND & TAB.
Flown: A300 A319 A320 A321 A333 A343 A359 A388 AT72 AT76 B712 B735 B736 B737 B738 B739 B38M B744 B752 B753 B763 B772ER B772LR B77W B788 B789 CRJ2 CRJ7 CRJ9 DH8A DH8B DH8D E145 E170 E190
 
Bongodog49
Posts: 182
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:58 pm

[url][/url]
mwhcvt wrote:
So subsidies go and the route goes that’s piss poor from VS as just a cursory look they seem to be selling on this route quite well, based on a dummy booking, at prices a little below to the same as BA on the route

I wonder if BA has been in recipe of subsidies as well?


Reading the linked articles, there appears to be no suggestion that there have been subsidies to date, but that VS have asked for them in order for the flights to continue.

I can see the reasoning for subsidies in order to open up new routes, but cannot see why an airline that has been flying a route for 20 or so years, with another UK based airline also on the route would ever think that a request for a subsidy would be well received.
 
mwhcvt
Posts: 1007
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:35 pm

Bongodog49 wrote:
[url][/url]
mwhcvt wrote:
So subsidies go and the route goes that’s piss poor from VS as just a cursory look they seem to be selling on this route quite well, based on a dummy booking, at prices a little below to the same as BA on the route

I wonder if BA has been in recipe of subsidies as well?


Reading the linked articles, there appears to be no suggestion that there have been subsidies to date, but that VS have asked for them in order for the flights to continue.

I can see the reasoning for subsidies in order to open up new routes, but cannot see why an airline that has been flying a route for 20 or so years, with another UK based airline also on the route would ever think that a request for a subsidy would be well received.


Interesting, well I’m sure that in that case BA will be happy enough to see the competition pack it’s bags and leave the market to them, this will of course not be great for the ticket buying public on either end...I guess maybe VS feel there’s somewhere more profitable they can send the aircraft if the islands government were not prepared (rightly so) to pad VS route margin

I’ll admit I’ve never been a massive fan of VS but that’s mainly due to the fact I cannot stand Branson
Must think up a new one soon, slow moving brain trying to get into gear ;)
 
Zidane
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:43 pm

Good riddance, if they can't get it to work after 21 years then pass the baton to someone who can. They recently threatened ANU over subsidies as well.
 
FCAFLYBOY
Topic Author
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:32 pm

mwhcvt wrote:
Bongodog49 wrote:
[url][/url]
mwhcvt wrote:
So subsidies go and the route goes that’s piss poor from VS as just a cursory look they seem to be selling on this route quite well, based on a dummy booking, at prices a little below to the same as BA on the route

I wonder if BA has been in recipe of subsidies as well?


Reading the linked articles, there appears to be no suggestion that there have been subsidies to date, but that VS have asked for them in order for the flights to continue.

I can see the reasoning for subsidies in order to open up new routes, but cannot see why an airline that has been flying a route for 20 or so years, with another UK based airline also on the route would ever think that a request for a subsidy would be well received.


Interesting, well I’m sure that in that case BA will be happy enough to see the competition pack it’s bags and leave the market to them, this will of course not be great for the ticket buying public on either end...I guess maybe VS feel there’s somewhere more profitable they can send the aircraft if the islands government were not prepared (rightly so) to pad VS route margin

I’ll admit I’ve never been a massive fan of VS but that’s mainly due to the fact I cannot stand Branson


I completely agree.. it’s worth
Noting that since VS cancelled CUN, fares from BA have increased around 35%. Great news for IAG for sure but less so for price-sensitive package holiday customers and perhaps Mexican tourism too. I expect the exact same to happen with UVF.

I am surprised to see this route dropped, however. There is strong demand for LGW-UVF and VS at times flew less than daily, it should’ve been a no-brained and a money maker, or they would’ve canned it long ago.
 
JBLUA320
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:26 pm

I have to think that this isn't about whether or not the aircraft can make a profit, but rather that it can make a higher profit somewhere else.

Many Caribbean markets hold on to significant amounts of incentive dollars to attract and/or keep service (examples include Bermuda, Jamaica, Guadeloupe and Martinique), so I imagine VS was looking to UVF to help improve its yield and shoulder rising costs. Virgin full well knew before they even asked that the odds of getting incentive dollars were slim, but if it's the difference between keeping or ditching a route, it never hurts to try.

BA will be more than happy to improve its yields and VS will be more than happy to make more money somewhere else.
 
JamesCousins
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:45 pm

JBLUA320 wrote:
I have to think that this isn't about whether or not the aircraft can make a profit, but rather that it can make a higher profit somewhere else.

Many Caribbean markets hold on to significant amounts of incentive dollars to attract and/or keep service (examples include Bermuda, Jamaica, Guadeloupe and Martinique), so I imagine VS was looking to UVF to help improve its yield and shoulder rising costs. Virgin full well knew before they even asked that the odds of getting incentive dollars were slim, but if it's the difference between keeping or ditching a route, it never hurts to try.

BA will be more than happy to improve its yields and VS will be more than happy to make more money somewhere else.


You make a really important point, and while a desicion like this bemuses/dissapoints me slightly, Virgin Atlantic are still in the red and must return to profitability in order to be in good standing if and when Heathrow expansion comes to fruition. If the frame can make money elsewhere then so be it, I just worry for the long term impact on Virgin Holidays with this slimming of Caribbean schedules
Q400, A320-200, A321-200, 737-500, 737-800, 747-400, 757-200, 787-9 // FCA, TOM, TUI, MON, MT, BA, VS, DL, BE, X9, OLY // Upcoming: W6 A320, W6 A321, EVA 77W, VS 787-9m AS A320, VS A35K, KLM E190, KLM 738, LS 737
 
CrawleyBen
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:06 pm

After announcing the cancellation of the St. Lucia service Virgin Atlantic have also confirmed that their Gatwick to Havana service is being moved to Heathrow.

https://www.businesstraveller.com/busin ... cia-route/

Ben
 
TC957
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:33 pm

I'm sure TUI and, if still around then, Thomas Cook will maintain the available seat numbers come next June onwards.
 
txkf2010
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:40 pm

JBLUA320 wrote:
I have to think that this isn't about whether or not the aircraft can make a profit, but rather that it can make a higher profit somewhere else.

Many Caribbean markets hold on to significant amounts of incentive dollars to attract and/or keep service (examples include Bermuda...


When it comes to BA, this is incorrect.
 
Boeing74741R
Posts: 1376
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:37 am

CrawleyBen wrote:
After announcing the cancellation of the St. Lucia service Virgin Atlantic have also confirmed that their Gatwick to Havana service is being moved to Heathrow.

https://www.businesstraveller.com/busin ... cia-route/

Ben


That leaves MCO, BGI, GND, TAB, MBJ and ANU left from Gatwick. Mind you, there's also JV flights to JFK and BOS that are launching next year. :scratchchin:
 
mia
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:08 pm

Ideally this would reduce the cost of hotels in St Lucia starting in 2020.
"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."
 
8herveg
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:09 pm

Boeing74741R wrote:
CrawleyBen wrote:
After announcing the cancellation of the St. Lucia service Virgin Atlantic have also confirmed that their Gatwick to Havana service is being moved to Heathrow.

https://www.businesstraveller.com/busin ... cia-route/

Ben


That leaves MCO, BGI, GND, TAB, MBJ and ANU left from Gatwick. Mind you, there's also JV flights to JFK and BOS that are launching next year. :scratchchin:


That's what I thought too - they've gone from 10-11 destinations, to 6 in a relatively short space of time. There'll still be 4-5 daily departures on most days, but they might as well move the whole operation to LHR (appreciate slots are the problem!!!)
 
TC957
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:13 pm

I wonder if VS dropping UVF could tempt Caribbean Airlines to re-start long-haul.
 
azz767
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:10 pm

It seems to me they are completely re-shuffling in advance of the 744's leaving the fleet. It seems they want MAN all VS metal, so a mix of 330's and 350's will be up at MAN once the 744's go. 2 350's doing MCO and JFK with the remainder on A330-2/3 and potentially in the future neos.

Thus leaving LGW with two 350's to do MCO twice daily and on the days of only one daily MCO a BGI, with 1/2 330's doing the remainder of the Caribbean and DL metal doing North America (minus MCO).

Obviously they feel DL can cope better at LGW in place of VS whereas at MAN they feel the VS is integral to the success of the operation (hence moving ATL and JFK from DL to VS in recent years. Also with the Connect Airways rebrand happening imminently, and the lack of legacy BE at LGW, keeping the VS brand consistent at MAN & LHR may also be a factor in the reduction of VS metal DL/VS flights at LGW.
 
JamesCousins
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:18 pm

As much as these decisions on long standing routes are disappointing, ultimately VS is a loss making airline with a large slot portfolio at the worlds most valuable airport. Virgin have got to cut down what doesn't work (whether that be because of poor demand, operational inefficiency - VS ferry a lot of metal around and if they can cut down on this... or simply because a plane can make more money elsewhere) and build up a larger customer base and up load factors before inevitably re-opening routes like this. I could definitely see VS topping their A35K and A339 order (through options or new orders) in the not too distant future, but they've got to become profitable first and take the opportunity to dominate Manchester airport in the way BA dominate Heathrow
Q400, A320-200, A321-200, 737-500, 737-800, 747-400, 757-200, 787-9 // FCA, TOM, TUI, MON, MT, BA, VS, DL, BE, X9, OLY // Upcoming: W6 A320, W6 A321, EVA 77W, VS 787-9m AS A320, VS A35K, KLM E190, KLM 738, LS 737
 
FCAFLYBOY
Topic Author
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:27 pm

TC957 wrote:
I wonder if VS dropping UVF could tempt Caribbean Airlines to re-start long-haul.


Good god I hope not! - what? more clapped out 767's with poor dispatch reliability and 24 hours delays, as they try to make long-haul work with 1 or 2 aircraft. Stick to the islands and US I say!
 
8herveg
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:46 pm

azz767 wrote:
It seems to me they are completely re-shuffling in advance of the 744's leaving the fleet. It seems they want MAN all VS metal, so a mix of 330's and 350's will be up at MAN once the 744's go. 2 350's doing MCO and JFK with the remainder on A330-2/3 and potentially in the future neos.

Thus leaving LGW with two 350's to do MCO twice daily and on the days of only one daily MCO a BGI, with 1/2 330's doing the remainder of the Caribbean and DL metal doing North America (minus MCO).

Obviously they feel DL can cope better at LGW in place of VS whereas at MAN they feel the VS is integral to the success of the operation (hence moving ATL and JFK from DL to VS in recent years. Also with the Connect Airways rebrand happening imminently, and the lack of legacy BE at LGW, keeping the VS brand consistent at MAN & LHR may also be a factor in the reduction of VS metal DL/VS flights at LGW.


I'd imagine MAN would be 2 x daily to MCO, with the A350? They're 13 x weekly at the moment with 2 x B744's!

Also, I know VS do MAN-JFK on the B744 at the moment, but isn't that just because of lack of the right aircraft at the moment? It was a daily DL B757 at one point, then VS A330, and now VS B744. Why the sudden upsurge? I would have thought at some point it would go back to daily VS A330....but I could be wrong!
 
LimaFoxTango
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:24 pm

TC957 wrote:
I wonder if VS dropping UVF could tempt Caribbean Airlines to re-start long-haul.


Worse idea ever.
You are said to be a good pilot when your take-off's equal your landings.
 
Bongodog49
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:08 pm

JamesCousins wrote:
As much as these decisions on long standing routes are disappointing, ultimately VS is a loss making airline with a large slot portfolio at the worlds most valuable airport. Virgin have got to cut down what doesn't work (whether that be because of poor demand, operational inefficiency - VS ferry a lot of metal around and if they can cut down on this... or simply because a plane can make more money elsewhere) and build up a larger customer base and up load factors before inevitably re-opening routes like this. I could definitely see VS topping their A35K and A339 order (through options or new orders) in the not too distant future, but they've got to become profitable first and take the opportunity to dominate Manchester airport in the way BA dominate Heathrow


I see your point about "dominating Manchester" and its a good plan, my worry however is that VS seem to have blown LGW big time. 10 or 15 years back they dominated the Florida and Carribbean market at LGW, early morning and more or less every gate at the satellite terminal had a VS 744 on stand. The BA competing fleet was down to around 6 frame, since then BA have increased their 772 fleet regularly, now up to 14 frames and VS are now looking at reducing theirs.

Virgin holidays used to be the go to brand for the affluent working classes in the South East for Florida and the Carribbean, families spending £10 or even 20k on a holiday. Virgin holidays were getting their hands on much of this as they organised the flights, accomodation, hire cars, even theme park tickets.
 
Luftymatt
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:10 pm

azz767 wrote:
It seems to me they are completely re-shuffling in advance of the 744's leaving the fleet. It seems they want MAN all VS metal, so a mix of 330's and 350's will be up at MAN once the 744's go. 2 350's doing MCO and JFK with the remainder on A330-2/3 and potentially in the future neos.


I completely agree with you, otherwise it seems very odd to be announcing this almost a year in advance of it happening. It's more the sort of thing airlines do when planning new routes, rather than cancel them. It makes sense that it's to do with the planning of winding down of the 744 fleet, and also the shortage of aircraft due to the 787 engine issues. Other wise if it was just cancelling a route because it wasn't making a profit, they'd pull it before June 2020.
chase the sun
 
skipness1E
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:29 pm

There comes a point where you can make the case for consolidating London ops at Heathrow. Seems mad they've let LGW go so far, the impact of Norwegian can't have helped.
They used to have 6-7 daily B744s out of the South Terminal in summer peak, now it's often second hand A332s on a much diminished network. Having said that, LHR is in a much better place than recent years IMHO. Any runway 3 at LHR will see LGW closed for sure IMHO
 
Bongodog49
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:01 pm

Luftymatt wrote:
azz767 wrote:
It seems to me they are completely re-shuffling in advance of the 744's leaving the fleet. It seems they want MAN all VS metal, so a mix of 330's and 350's will be up at MAN once the 744's go. 2 350's doing MCO and JFK with the remainder on A330-2/3 and potentially in the future neos.


I completely agree with you, otherwise it seems very odd to be announcing this almost a year in advance of it happening. It's more the sort of thing airlines do when planning new routes, rather than cancel them. It makes sense that it's to do with the planning of winding down of the 744 fleet, and also the shortage of aircraft due to the 787 engine issues. Other wise if it was just cancelling a route because it wasn't making a profit, they'd pull it before June 2020.


The 787 engine issue has been resolved since April, VS no longer have any laid up planes. Many of the passengers on these routes are booked via Virgin Hoilidays and will have already booked for next year.
 
Brickell305
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:25 pm

FCAFLYBOY wrote:
TC957 wrote:
I wonder if VS dropping UVF could tempt Caribbean Airlines to re-start long-haul.


Good god I hope not! - what? more clapped out 767's with poor dispatch reliability and 24 hours delays, as they try to make long-haul work with 1 or 2 aircraft. Stick to the islands and US I say!

Agreed. BW has been down that road too many times and I hope they never return.
 
azz767
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:13 pm

8herveg wrote:
azz767 wrote:
It seems to me they are completely re-shuffling in advance of the 744's leaving the fleet. It seems they want MAN all VS metal, so a mix of 330's and 350's will be up at MAN once the 744's go. 2 350's doing MCO and JFK with the remainder on A330-2/3 and potentially in the future neos.

Thus leaving LGW with two 350's to do MCO twice daily and on the days of only one daily MCO a BGI, with 1/2 330's doing the remainder of the Caribbean and DL metal doing North America (minus MCO).

Obviously they feel DL can cope better at LGW in place of VS whereas at MAN they feel the VS is integral to the success of the operation (hence moving ATL and JFK from DL to VS in recent years. Also with the Connect Airways rebrand happening imminently, and the lack of legacy BE at LGW, keeping the VS brand consistent at MAN & LHR may also be a factor in the reduction of VS metal DL/VS flights at LGW.


I'd imagine MAN would be 2 x daily to MCO, with the A350? They're 13 x weekly at the moment with 2 x B744's!

Also, I know VS do MAN-JFK on the B744 at the moment, but isn't that just because of lack of the right aircraft at the moment? It was a daily DL B757 at one point, then VS A330, and now VS B744. Why the sudden upsurge? I would have thought at some point it would go back to daily VS A330....but I could be wrong!


MAN - MCO is only 13 weekly peak summer though and other holiday weeks I.e Easter. The rest of the year it’s 7-10 weekly max AFAIK. So a daily a350 supported by a 330 on the days with a second daily flight. I know the 744’s were initially used due to shortage of a/c but if they’re going to be building a hub and connecting the regions to bank with their departures at MAN then you’d imagine JFK would become a major route for them, TCX get the leisure market if they are still around, but I can’t see why in a hub operation JFK couldn’t support a 350. Further down the line you could see it doing a tour of the US weekly maybe doing a couple of JFK, a couple of ATL and a couple of LAX and then the 330 on the other days of operation. I just don’t see 4 350’s between MAN and LGW only doing MCO all the time. The other thing that has to be factored in during the summer is an a/c mix of 744 and 332 this summer has to do the GLA and BFS MCO flights for a number of weeks as well and I don’t see shiny new 350’s doing those flights, id imagine they will go all 330 once the jumbos go
 
caribny
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 6:47 pm

mia wrote:
Ideally this would reduce the cost of hotels in St Lucia starting in 2020.



Not really unless its the hotels that Americans don't use. That source is now SLU's largest group.
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:21 pm

How about Virgin extend their reach down to Aruba, such a nice island. Virgin Holidays should have little problem selling that package.
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azz767
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:46 pm

readytotaxi wrote:
How about Virgin extend their reach down to Aruba, such a nice island. Virgin Holidays should have little problem selling that package.

Virgin holidays offer Aruba, but it’s on BA and AA flights. If they are buying seats on the competition it shows they obviously don’t see enough demand to fly their own metal down there. Virgin holidays offer a large amount of destinations, I think for the airline to fly the route their needs to be enough demand to fill it full of package holidays as Aruba doesn’t strike me as place you’d get seat only sales from the UK, much like St Lucia. Barbados and the like with a large ex pat community and rich people with holiday homes over there you can sell more seat only along side the packages hence flights on VS metal
 
digitalcloud
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:35 am

azz767 wrote:
The other thing that has to be factored in during the summer is an a/c mix of 744 and 332 this summer has to do the GLA and BFS MCO flights for a number of weeks as well and I don’t see shiny new 350’s doing those flights, id imagine they will go all 330 once the jumbos go


BFS-MCO is only once weekly and operates from April to the first week of September while GLA is 4x weekly at peak and operates for the full season (April-October) before switching to the once weekly A330 from November until early January.
 
DobboDobbo
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:37 am

JamesCousins wrote:
As much as these decisions on long standing routes are disappointing, ultimately VS is a loss making airline with a large slot portfolio at the worlds most valuable airport. Virgin have got to cut down what doesn't work (whether that be because of poor demand, operational inefficiency - VS ferry a lot of metal around and if they can cut down on this... or simply because a plane can make more money elsewhere) and build up a larger customer base and up load factors before inevitably re-opening routes like this. I could definitely see VS topping their A35K and A339 order (through options or new orders) in the not too distant future, but they've got to become profitable first and take the opportunity to dominate Manchester airport in the way BA dominate Heathrow


It’s going to be interesting to see what VS’s plans are at MAN over the coming years. All the signs are that they are in growth/expansion mode, but IMO there are limits to what can be achieved in the short run.

For example, whatever happens to the legacy FlyBe (now Connect Airways) network, I don’t see it dominating short haul (other than domestic) at MAN in the same way as BA does at LHR. I could see more routes being offered to support connections, but that is about it.

On the long haul, I could see VS taking over bits of TCX’s network (which may in part the de facto replacement for some of VS’s LGW routes such as StLucia) but even then I don’t see that they would be given free reign to build out a substantial network without other market entrants. It is possible, but I think unlikely.
 
trintocan
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Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:15 pm

This news has certainly caused a stir in the Caribbean. The VS announcement of the closure of UVF, a major destination for them in the region, has come as something of a surprise. If one looks more into it though one sees more sides to this than initially appear.

VS' main problem is that they are trying to define their place in the UK aviation market. They have long had something of a split personality with their mainstream services out of LHR contrasting with their leisure services served mostly from LGW with some additionally from MAN, GLA and BFS. Their LHR routes largely copied the airport's busiest routes, principally to the USA but also to some other cities such as HKG, PVG and LOS and formerly DXB, NRT and SYD. These routes tend to feature their newest planes and arguably their best service levels. On the other hand their holiday services have tended to use older planes, notably the 747-400s and now second-hand A330-200s along with some new A330-300s lately. VS sold themselves on two major fronts; they promoted themselves as "hip and cool", the embodiment of the Cool Britannia ethos of the 1990s (think Spice Girls as well) which stood in marked contrast to the rather more staid and stodgy image of many other British carriers at the time. At the same time they took advantage of their privileged status within the Bermuda 2 bilateral between the UK and USA which enabled them to fly to many Stateside airports from LHR while many other carriers had to use LGW.

Alas, since the Noughties the aviation market has changed and VS have struggled to adapt. "Hip and cool" does not work from LHR anymore as the market there is heavily business-driven and nowadays flight frequency, efficient connections and alliances with their attendant benefits and loyalty programmes rule things. VS as an independent airline could not match the frequencies of the major alliances on key routes and, with LHR open to all comers on the transatlantic trade since 2008, their strongest selling point was largely lost. As an example, VS could not match the AA / BA Joint Venture which provides hourly flights between JFK and LHR. The net result is that VS have lost huge sums of money in recent years and have needed the interventions of other carriers, first SQ and now DL, to help save them. Their traditional image arguably works better for their holiday routes and with Virgin Holidays offering many packages they seemed more secure in this market. In recent times though, the consolidation of the holiday airlines' sector has led to two major carriers emerging, namely the very strong TUI (BY) and the rather weaker TC and VS have seemed less able to break into new markets in the way that BY have. BA have also grown greatly in LGW as they have shifted 777s there from LHR as A380s, 787s and now A350s have arrived at the larger hub. VS have concentrated on MCO, perhaps their strongest overall market, LAS and the Caribbean. To be fair VS have remained innovative in several ways, such as designating their Upper Class to fit somewhere between traditional Business and First Class offerings and in differentiating their Premium Economy product from the Economy at a time when W often merely meant a larger seat with Y service. Again, these sorts of measures work better in the leisure market.

Under DL's influence VS have had to adapt to new realities and in doing so they have increasingly tailored their services to complement DL on transatlantic routes where they may be best able to use their image to good effect. They have also dropped routes which were underperforming such as the three mentioned earlier. They have more recently dropped CUN which perhaps reflects a combination of high capacity out of the UK along with concerns about violent crime in the area. Where UVF is concerned, a point remains. St Lucia is a small island of 165000 people and tourism is its main revenue earner. VS had been asking for revenue guarantees on the route which would amount to every man, woman and child on the island paying US$45 or EC$123 over 3 years for them to serve UVF! This sort of money is a lot to ask of a relatively poor country and, given the public opacity of accounting within major corporations (which is necessary to an extent), one is left with the underlying suspicion that Caribbean islands may be picking up the tabs for losses elsewhere in the network. That sort of perception runs widely in the Caribbean and in recent years St Lucia has been less willing to subsidise airlines serving it.

In the end SLU / UVF decided that, at a time of financial stress, it could not justify taking a large sum of money from other needs of the country (e.g. roads, education, healthcare etc) to subsidise one airline flying a route served by other operators and linking a market which is increasingly weak due to external issues (think Brexit and the fall of the pound's value). BA are best positioned to take up the slack into UVF but BY, a relatively recent entrant to the market, may well take the opportunity to increase winter services there.

Trintocan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
Zidane
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:44 am

Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:00 am

Well put Trinto, and the news certainly did make some headlines in Saint Lucia. Ultimately, the tourism stakeholders have stood with the government's position, although still open to negotiations, and have moved on. The perception of subsidy payments in the Caribbean are justified, remember Virgin's exit from TAB over unpaid subsidies? ANU was also approached for subsidies recently, most likely they paid up. These are examples of which we know of so far, available to the public domain. Fortunately, Saint Lucia has the option of rejecting these demands. Regarding who will pick up the slack, BA is being approached.
 
dtwpilot225
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:31 am

Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:23 am

With their joint venture with delta, they can have passengers connect in jfk and Atlanta now to head there.
 
FCAFLYBOY
Topic Author
Posts: 685
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 5:03 am

Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:28 am

dtwpilot225 wrote:
With their joint venture with delta, they can have passengers connect in jfk and Atlanta now to head there.


Except that really doesn’t work outbound, without an overnight stop in the US, as the US-UVF flights all depart before any transatlantic arrivals. Which means an overnight stay, a night lost on the island, and the added hassle of arranging an ESTA, plus the whole TSA mess and Immigration. Not appealing at all!
 
TC957
Posts: 3765
Joined: Wed May 23, 2012 1:12 pm

Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:32 am

dtwpilot225 wrote:
With their joint venture with delta, they can have passengers connect in jfk and Atlanta now to head there.

What an awful thought ! Far easier to connect via BGI or ANU on LIAT, meaning arrival into SLU rather than UVF which also saves that dreadful road journey from UVF and it's far closer to many of the resorts hotels, saving transfer time.
 
Brickell305
Posts: 943
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:25 pm

Zidane wrote:
Well put Trinto, and the news certainly did make some headlines in Saint Lucia. Ultimately, the tourism stakeholders have stood with the government's position, although still open to negotiations, and have moved on. The perception of subsidy payments in the Caribbean are justified, remember Virgin's exit from TAB over unpaid subsidies? ANU was also approached for subsidies recently, most likely they paid up. These are examples of which we know of so far, available to the public domain. Fortunately, Saint Lucia has the option of rejecting these demands. Regarding who will pick up the slack, BA is being approached.

I agree re subsidies. I also don't see why St. Lucia should pay subsidies to VS when there are other airlines in the market. If it were a case of VS or nothing, then I'd see a case for the subsidies. In this instance, I'm glad the gov't has chosen not to pony up.
 
trintocan
Posts: 2788
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2000 6:02 pm

Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:07 pm

TC957 wrote:
dtwpilot225 wrote:
With their joint venture with delta, they can have passengers connect in jfk and Atlanta now to head there.

What an awful thought ! Far easier to connect via BGI or ANU on LIAT, meaning arrival into SLU rather than UVF which also saves that dreadful road journey from UVF and it's far closer to many of the resorts hotels, saving transfer time.


A connection with LI is possible via BGI being the better option. LI operate only one ANU-SLU flight daily while BGI-SLU operates 2-3 daily. Additionally the only SLU-ANU flight leaves early in the morning, resulting in a long wait at ANU for the evening flight onwards to LGW. Connections via JFK or ATL take significantly longer and, as mentioned, involve the passage through US Customs and Immigration and all that. In reality Virgin Holidays (which is separate from VS) would simply buy seats on BA or BY for their passengers on packages to St Lucia - hence this could be a major opportunity for BY to expand in UVF.

Trintocan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
LimaFoxTango
Posts: 955
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:33 pm

Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:25 pm

This is a clear example why Caribbean islands need to band together and fight against these large airlines, cruise companies, hotel chains etc. when they come cap in hand asking for money. I for one am happy that Govt of SLU told VS soo long. Im not sure if ANU, TAB and BGI was approached, but shame on them if they paid.

OTOH, LI approached the Govt of SLU for subsidies (a sum far less than $2.5mil US) and they refused to give. It would've been very interesting if they paid VS and not LI.
You are said to be a good pilot when your take-off's equal your landings.
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1844
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:41 pm

LimaFoxTango wrote:
This is a clear example why Caribbean islands need to band together and fight against these large airlines, cruise companies, hotel chains etc. when they come cap in hand asking for money. I for one am happy that Govt of SLU told VS soo long. Im not sure if ANU, TAB and BGI was approached, but shame on them if they paid.

OTOH, LI approached the Govt of SLU for subsidies (a sum far less than $2.5mil US) and they refused to give. It would've been very interesting if they paid VS and not LI.

Totally agree with you. :checkmark: :checkmark: :checkmark:
 
Brickell305
Posts: 943
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: Virgin Atlantic to cancel St Lucia

Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:36 pm

LimaFoxTango wrote:
This is a clear example why Caribbean islands need to band together and fight against these large airlines, cruise companies, hotel chains etc. when they come cap in hand asking for money. I for one am happy that Govt of SLU told VS soo long. Im not sure if ANU, TAB and BGI was approached, but shame on them if they paid.

OTOH, LI approached the Govt of SLU for subsidies (a sum far less than $2.5mil US) and they refused to give. It would've been very interesting if they paid VS and not LI.

Unfortunately I don’t see this happening until and unless a Caricom political union forms. As it is now, each government is only accountable to the voters on its own island and as such view one island’s loss as their gain. I don’t see them coming together in that fashion unless that changes.

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