Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss says the carrier wants more than half of the slots that will be available at Heathrow following the addition of a third runway.
The executive said he believes “Britain deserves better”, in terms of the variety of carriers available to passengers from the UK.
During an interview session at World Travel Market Weiss said: “350 new slots will come in at Heathrow. Virgin Atlantic currently holds less than five per cent of the slots, IAG and its cohorts own more than 55% so they clearly have a prominent position.
“Of those 350 slots we want 162 slots, which would mean we would double in size, as well as offer more connectivity into Europe and domestically. About four weeks ago we outlined 84 new routes that we could fly should we be allocated this.”
Weiss said: “If we do not change the current slot regime (at Heathrow) Virgin Atlantic would get roughly 10 and our competitors will get 100. As a supporting fact, one in four passengers at Heathrow fly on a monopoly route”.
He estimated that 80.5 million passengers at Heathrow face no competition on the route they fly.
“We believe Britain deserves better”, said Weiss. “Consumers and businesses of the UK deserve better and the only way to do that is to seize this opportunity and use the slot allocation to create a second flag carrier.”