Virgin Atlantic announces first ever South American service to Sao Paulo

Virgin Atlantic has announced its entry into South America with the launch of a new route to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Flights on this route will be available for booking from September 6, 2023, and the inaugural flight is scheduled to take off on May 13, 2024. Travelers can look forward to daily flights connecting London to Sao Paulo. The flight itself will be approximately 11 hours and 55 minutes long, using the modern Boeing 787 aircraft. The return Economy fares start from £686 per person.

Sao Paulo, one of the world’s most populous cities, is a thriving hub for multinational businesses. This route caters to both corporate travellers and leisure seekers. In addition, Sao Paulo is celebrated as Brazil’s culinary capital, and offers a rich tapestry of arts and cultural experiences that will captivate leisure travellers.

Sao Paulo serves as the gateway to South America and is a pivotal hub for Virgin Atlantic’s codeshare partner, LATAM, South America’s largest airline. This partnership opens up access to over 50 South American destinations, including Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Florianopolis, along with loyalty rewards and redemption options for Flying Club members. Additionally, Virgin Atlantic’s SkyTeam alliance partner, Aerolineas Argentinas, facilitates connections from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘The countdown has officially begun to our much-anticipated arrival in Sao Paulo. It’s fitting that our 40th year brings our entry to a brand new continent in South America, symbolising a continued period of network growth for Virgin Atlantic. Sao Paulo is the perfect fit for us, a buzzing metropolis of culture and adventure that suits the differing needs of our rich customer base.

‘Our partnership with LATAM will also unlock further destinations in Brazil and beyond into South America with Skyteam partner Aerolineas Argentinas, opening up a wealth of exciting opportunities for those who choose to fly with Virgin Atlantic.’

Virgin Atlantic announces codeshare partnership with LATAM Airlines

Virgin Atlantic has announced a new codeshare agreement with LATAM Airlines offering customers the opportunity to fly directly to the South American country of Brazil.

Customers booking through Virgin Atlantic are now able to travel from Heathrow direct to Sao Paulo as well as connecting onwards onto 12 domestic airports in Brazil. The other domestic destinations in Brazil include Rio de Janeiro (GIG), Porto Alegre (POA), Belo Horizonte (CNF), Brasilia (BSB), Curitiba (CWB), Goiania (GYN), Recife (REC), Salvador (SSA), Florianopolis (FLN), Fortaleza (FOR), Vitoria (VIX) and Londrina (LDB).

Customers travelling from Sao Paulo to London Heathrow will also have the option to smoothly connect onto Virgin Atlantic’s rest of world destinations through Terminal 3 including Tel Aviv, Delhi and Hong Kong.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘We’re incredibly excited to launch this new codeshare partnership with LATAM Airlines.’

‘As we recover from the pandemic, partnerships are more important than ever, and we look forward to building on the incredibly successful interline relationship we have had in place for a number of years. We also see opportunities beyond Brazil and look forward to expanding our relationship even further to serve destinations throughout South America including Peru and Colombia.’

‘This new partnership aims to respond to the large, fast-growing demand for leisure travellers looking to enjoy new experiences after a challenging 20 months. We know there is pent up demand for long-haul travel and we look forward to welcoming customers onboard on their way to exploring these exciting and vibrant Brazilian cities.’

‘As global economies gradually recover from the impact of the pandemic, we also expect to capture demand from corporate travel heading to Sao Paulo, the commercial capital of Brazil as well as other key business hubs in South America.’

Virgin Atlantic to offer London Heathrow – Sao Paulo service from March 2020, announce codeshare with GOL to serve 37 destinations

The UK- based Virgin Atlantic and Brazilian domestic carrier GOL have announced a new codeshare agreement allowing customers to connect from Virgin Atlantic’s brand new London Heathrow – Sao Paulo service onto flights across Brazil.

GOL will offer connections to 37 destinations across the country, including Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Recife. Virgin Atlantic and GOL are also planning to expand their codeshare further with the addition of flights to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, in addition to a reciprocal frequent flyer programme expected soon.

Flights from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo and onward, went on sale on September 10, 2019. Available for travel year-round from March 29, 2020, Virgin Atlantic will fly daily from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo on a Boeing 787-9. The flight will depart London Heathrow at 22:30, arriving Sao Paulo at 06:25; and on return, the flight will depart Sao Paulo at 16:25, arriving London Heathrow at 07:50 hours.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented, ‘We’re delighted to announce our codeshare agreement with GOL. Brazil is such a rich and diverse country and we’ll be able to offer seamless connections for customers from our brand new London Heathrow to Sao Paulo service onto 37 destinations across Brazil. With flights on sale from Tuesday 10th September 2019 and the first flight on 29 March 2020, customers will soon be able to enjoy Virgin Atlantic’s signature service to South America’s largest country.’

Eduardo Bernardes Neto, SVP Sales & Distribution at GOL, commented, ‘We’re delighted to partner with Virgin Atlantic ahead of its arrival into Brazil next year. GOL offers a leading route network and high quality service and we’re thrilled to be able to connect even more customers thanks to our new partnership with Virgin Atlantic.’

Virgin Atlantic’s codeshare will offer travellers a range of destinations – the popular leisure favourites include surfer hotspot Florianopolis, the Amazon jungle via Manaus and the beautiful coastline of Recife. For business travellers, connections include the Brazilian capital Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and industrial hub Curitiba. Both airlines offer Wi-Fi and inflight entertainment across their fleet.

Virgin Atlantic announces new service to Sao Paulo from Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will launch flights between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2020.

The daily service – the 11 hr 55 min flight – between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport is Virgin Atlantic’s first to the South American continent. Sao Paulo is the commercial capital of Brazil and one of the largest cities in the Americas for multinational companies to have offices, and will enable Virgin Atlantic to expand its offering to existing corporate customers.

The airline will operate a Boeing 787 aircraft boasting Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, Premium and Economy Delight, Classic and Light offerings.

Flights to Sao Paulo are on sale later this year.

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic executive vice president – Commercial, commented, ‘2019 marks the start of a new phase of growth for Virgin Atlantic as we work to become the most loved travel company. Sao Paulo represents an incredible opportunity for our business, and we’re very excited to be flying to a brand new continent for the first time. There are a significant number of corporate customers, and multi-national businesses, located in this Powerhouse of South America who can now enjoy the Virgin Atlantic experience on this busy international route.’

‘But it’s not all about business – I’m also thrilled to introduce an exciting new destination to our leisure customers. Sao Paulo boasts numerous cultural institutions such as the Museu de Arte, has a rich architectural history, and acts as a gateway for leisure travel within the rest of Brazil and beyond. This is a prime opportunity for Virgin Holidays who are busy securing a range of ancillary partners and diverse accommodation options for those customers seeking a full-service holiday offering.’

Virgin Atlantic is set to become the founding member of a new, $13bn transatlantic joint venture with over 300 daily transatlantic flights and 96 non-stop transatlantic routes, alongside Delta, Air France and KLM as well as launching new services from London Heathrow to Las Vegas, Manchester to Los Angeles and London Heathrow to Tel Aviv.

Foreign Office warns Brits over Brazil football protests

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the British government department responsible for the welfare of British citizens overseas, has issued a warning for travellers to the main cities in Brazil.

The FCO has updated previous advice in the light of escalating protests in the South American country, which in some cases has resulted in violent confrontations between police and protestors. The semi-finals of the Confederation Cup football competition, which is currently being contested at venues around Brazil, are expected to be occasions of particular focus for protestors. The first semi-final is due to take place at 4 pm today in the city of Belo Horizonte, while the second is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday June 27, in Fortaleza.

The football tournament has been targeted by protestors who are critical of the amount of money that the country is spending on hosting the Confederation Cup, the forthcoming FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games, while they allege that public services, including transport and education, are being starved of funds. Four people have already been killed in the violent protests, which started as a modest demonstration in the city of Sao Paulo against an increase in bus fares. Now millions of angry Brazilians are taking to the streets, with the authorities warning that two further mass rallies are planned for 4 pm today, one in the city of Recife and the other in the nation’s capital, Brasilia.

The FCO has warned Britons travelling in Brazil, ‘You should avoid all protests and demonstrations. Monitor local media, follow the guidance of local authorities and expect some disruption to travel.’


UK’s FCO advises on travel to riot-torn Brazil

The UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the department responsible for the welfare of British citizens overseas, has issued updated travel advice for UK residents that are planning to visit Brazil.

The new advice comes in the wake of recent violent protests that have erupted in a number of major Brazilian cities. Sao Paulo was the latest city to witness the violence, following similar incidents that had already affected parts of the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.

What started out as a low-key protest over a 10 percent fare increase on many of the South American nation’s buses, quickly became a more general and enflamed demonstration against the cost burden that the country is shouldering as it prepares to host both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic games. The demonstrators apparently feel that more money should be spent on education, and transport. The level of protest escalated and the BBC has reported that business outlets have been vandalised by protestors wearing masks, who fought with others that were attempting to stop the violence.

The FCO’s statement on the demonstrations says, ‘Some of these have turned violent. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations. Monitor local media, follow the guidance of the local authorities and expect some disruption to travel.

‘If you intend to visit a British Consulate, please check before travelling as some opening hours have been disrupted.

‘Levels of crime and violence are high, particularly in major cities. You should be particularly vigilant before and during the festive and Carnival periods. Bank card fraud is common.’

Brazil welcomes British invasion

An increase in visitors to Brazil last year was spearheaded by British travellers, according to recently released figures.

The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism released the data, showing that 155,548 British nationals visited the South American hotspot last year, an increase of 4 percent on the previous year. The British invasion was part of a record-breaking year for visitors to Brazil, as the country welcomed a total of 5,433,354, a 4.5 percent increase on the previous year.

In addition to Brazil’s dramatic and varied landscapes and tropical climate, visitors are arriving to sample the growing excitement as the country prepares to host a number of major sporting events over the next few years. The first of these is the FIFA Confederations Cup, which will be hosted by a number of Brazilian cities later this month. That competition is seen as a warm up for the 2014 FIFA World Cup that will be staged in Brazil next year, and the 2016 Olympic games that will hit Rio de Janeiro in three years’ time.

Such is the current demand for tourism to Brazil, which is only likely to increase as these events draw closer, that 109 new hotels, resorts and hostels are in the process of construction across the twelve cities that will host next year’s World Cup event. The demand for accommodation in Brazil’s most popular centres has seen hotel prices rise to become among the most expensive in the world, a situation that the government is attempting to address. To this end it has reduced taxes and electricity tariffs for tourism accommodation by 32 percent.

Flavio Dino, the president of the Brazilian Tourist Board, Embratur, commented, ‘The Federal Government is committed to keeping costs down by taking measures including reducing taxes and electricity. We are also urging the private sector to keep prices fair before the major sporting events.’

Brazilians are New Year party favourites

The nationality that the rest of the world wants to party with at New Year are Brazilians, according to the findings of a recent survey.

The survey, which was carried out by, a social network site that has 168 million users in more than 180 countries, and which claims to offer a platform for chatting, dating, and meeting new people, was conducted with 17,000 people from 17 countries. It asked which nationality the rest of the world would most like to share their New Year celebrations with. Brazilians emerged as the clear favourites, followed in order by Americans, Spaniards, Italians and French. Belgians and Swiss took the bottom two positions.

Reuters quoted Badoo director, Louise Thompson, as saying, ‘This seems harsh on the Swiss and Belgians, but I can understand that most people would rather celebrate New Year’s Eve on a beach in Brazil than by huddling against the cold in northern Europe.’

The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro celebrates the New Year with a massive firework display above Copacabana Beach, and over one million revellers take to the streets in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo.

Australia will be among the first countries to celebrate the New Year, with a firework display around its famous Sydney harbour. Then 2013 will be welcomed in a succession of countries and across all continents as the midnight deadline moves around the globe. London will commence its celebrations a full 11 hours after Sydney, and New York’s revelries will begin five hours later still.


Rio.Mobi provides info on Brazil’s hottest city

Travellers to Brazil’s most popular city, Rio de Janeiro, can now benefit from a free mobile travel guide, Rio Mobi.

Rio.Mobi, which was created by mobile web development company, World Mobi Group Ltd, enables travellers visiting the city to access a wealth of useful information, free of charge, at the touch of a button. The up-to-the-minute tool is claimed to be quick to download and easy to use, and provides instant information on Rio’s tourist attractions, sports attractions, accommodation, shopping, restaurants, transport and nightlife. It also has a handy currency converter and translation tool, as well as providing contact information for travellers in need of emergency assistance – be it police, ambulance or a lost credit card.

The new guide has been launched as the city gears up to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014, and the Olympic Games in 2016, so its information on sporting venues will become increasingly pertinent over the coming months and years.

Despite being recently cited as one of the most expensive cities in the world for hotel accommodation, Rio is quickly growing in popularity as a tourist destination. Visitors are drawn by the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Sugarloaf Mountain, the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer, and the city’s famous nightlife. The annual carnival is a world-renowned event and takes place next year between Saturday 9 and Tuesday 13 February. Not a time to visit for those wishing to avoid the crowds, as an estimated two million revellers take to the streets each day!

New Holiday Inn Express Opens in Brazil

Holiday Inn, a brand of hotels that is part of British-based InterContinental Hotels Group, has opened its new Holiday Inn Express Maceio Ponta Verde, located in the Ponta Verde beach area of Maceio, Brazil.

The 160-room hotel is decorated with artwork and folk-art themed crafts made by local artisans, which are blended with the cultural heritage of the area in a contemporary and elegant style.

The property features amenities, including free high-speed wireless Internet connectivity; four meeting rooms, totalling 1,614 square feet of event space; an outdoor pool; a fitness centre; and a business centre.

Alvaro Diago, the chief operations officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, InterContinental Hotels Group, said, ‘We are delighted to continue to grow the Holiday Inn Express brand in the North-eastern part of Brazil by opening a hotel in a city like Maceio, well-known year-round for its powdery, white-sand beaches, emerald green waters, fabulous water sports and laid-back charm.

We are devoted to continued expansion in the Brazilian market, while maintaining our pledge to offer guests the highest quality services.’

Ricardo Lopez, the vice president of sales and marketing for Latin America and the Caribbean, InterContinental Hotels Group, said, ‘This new property exemplifies IHG’s goal of finding the right opportunities to introduce the Holiday Inn Express brand in destinations with a strong demand for high-quality yet affordable hotels.

Holiday Inn Express is designed to offer a comfortable, uncomplicated, fresh and modern experience at a great value for both leisure and business travellers. We are confident this hotel and the brand’s strong value proposition will provide an excellent opportunity to continue to build guest loyalty and reach new customers.’