The inaugural flight arrived in Vancouver yesterday, 24th May and was met by a traditional ice hockey welcome and The Honorable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia.
The new flight will operate four times a week on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Initially the service will run throughout the summer up until 27th October 2012 and will see up to 40,000 Virgin Atlantic customers travelling between London and Vancouver in the first season. As the airline’s 32nd worldwide route, it is estimated that Virgin Atlantic’s flights will deliver around CAD$20million (UK£12.5m) of tourism revenue to the Vancouver market each year.
No surprise then that Christy Clark was pleased to see it:
“It is great news that Virgin Atlantic has chosen to add four weekly flights between London and Vancouver. The United Kingdom is one of our key markets and also serves as a hub for other international travellers heading to our province.
Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic Airways said:
“We’ve had lots of customers asking us to fly to Vancouver over the years, so we’re delighted to launch this new route in response to customer demand. Vancouver is such a cosmopolitan city, full of culture, shopping and restaurants but it also offers stunning beaches and a range of outdoor adventure options on its doorstep. Vancouver’s tourism is thriving and we believe that we can drive demand even higher by providing great competition with our award winning product and service. The UK has the largest number of overseas visitors to British Columbia each year so it is a natural addition to our route network. This route launch further cements our position as the UK’s leading long haul leisure airline.”
Virgin Atlantic are operating the service with an Airbus A340-300, which will be configured with 34 Upper Class suites, 35 Premium Economy seats and 171 Economy seats. The outbound flight from London Heathrow (VS95) will depart at 13:00 and arrive in Vancouver at 15:10. The return flight from Vancouver (VS96) will depart at 19:20 on Thursdays and Sundays and arrive in London Heathrow the next day at 13:15. On Tuesdays and Saturdays it will depart at 20:05 and arrive in London Heathrow the next day at 14:00.