Virgin Atlantic’s new domestic service, Little Red, is celebrating success after flying more than 250,000 passengers in the first six months of its launch.
Virgin Atlantic launched Little Red in March, with the service also operating from Aberdeen and Edinburgh to Heathrow, with onward links to popular destinations like Shanghai, San Francisco and Las Vegas.
Mr. Joe Thompson, who has been charged with launching and operating the service, reportedly told the Manchester Evening News, ‘I’m proud of Little Red. Look at what we’ve achieved over the last six months, building a new branch of our business that customers say they are loving, that’s operating brilliantly, and seeing passenger numbers growing.’
Commenting on the launch of Little Red, Mr Thompson said: ‘When we launched it, it was something new and different for Virgin Atlantic, for us to go into the domestic routes after 30 years of long haul.
‘There was a certain amount of nervousness. What I’m really excited about is that we have managed to find a new way of flying in short haul.’
Virgin Atlantic deploys 174-passenger A320s to take four round trips from Manchester to Heathrow every day. Nearly 75 percent of all passengers catch connecting international flights.
What makes Little Red unique is its touch of ‘glamour and style,’ said Mr. Thompson, who became director of short haul and new venture performance in March. ‘You don’t see much of that in the travel arena these days.
‘We really think about what the customer wants. The basics are there – we operate on time, with good connections, but there are also the twists and quirks that really surprise people. These include handing out Love Heart sweets, an extra piece of free hold luggage, and a free sports gear allowance too.’
Mr. Thompson, who was previously in charge of the global airport operation, added that Virgin Atlantic will also increase capacity on its long haul flights from Manchester.
‘Manchester is a growing market and we are always looking at future opportunities. There are a wealth of possible destinations and we are not ruling out direct routes to China,’ he said.