Virgin Atlantic will increase services from Manchester to the Caribbean and Florida next summer and add extra flights from Gatwick to Jamaica from November 2009.


The announcement is a boost to Manchester following a succession of blows, including the withdrawal of BMI long-haul flights from the airport, and to the Caribbean – which lost capacity from the UK when XL Leisure Group collapsed in September.


Virgin Atlantic will fly twice a week from Manchester to Barbados, adding a Saturday departure to the existing Sunday flight between May 2 and November 7, and will increase departures from Manchester to Orlando from nine to ten a week with an added Sunday flight operating from April 26 to November 8.


The carrier will also increase its winter Gatwick service to Montego Bay from two to three flights a week from November 13 next year.


A Virgin Atlantic spokesman said: “This is a vote of confidence in Manchester. British Airways and BMI have pulled out and there is a big gap left by XL”