The aviation interests of UK-based Virgin are set to increase with the launch of a new domestic airline at the end of this month.
The company has announced that the new airline, which will make its first flight on March 31, will be known as Little Red. Following the airline’s launch in Manchester on the last day of this month, it will be rolled out in Edinburgh on April 5 and Aberdeen on April 9.
From its inception the airline will operate four round trips per day between London Heathrow and Manchester, six round trips per day between Heathrow and Edinburgh, and three round trips per day between Heathrow and Aberdeen.
Virgin has long been a rival to British Airways, particularly on trans-Atlantic routes, and now it hopes to be as effective in taking on BA in the domestic market. The company also sees the new services as providing lucrative short-haul connections to its long-haul routes.
Little Red is not a no-frills service; passengers will have pre-assigned seats, a 23kg check-in luggage allowance, hot breakfasts provided on early morning flights and complimentary snacks and drinks.
The president of Virgin Atlantic, Richard Branson, said, ‘Virgin Atlantic has been on an incredible journey since we started with a single plane 29 years ago.
‘Little Red represents the next step on that journey as we go head to head with British Airways to provide domestic flights that deliver Virgin Atlantic’s rock and roll spirit as well as real value for money.
‘The European Commission recognised that a British Airways monopoly would be undeniably bad for consumers, and Virgin Atlantic Little Red will stop British Airways dominating routes and driving higher prices.’