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Virgin Atlantic boosts Caribbean capacity after green list ‘surge’

Virgin Atlantic has increased its Caribbean programme and brought forward the relaunch of routes after reporting a surge in demand following the addition of Antigua, Barbados and Grenada to the government’s green list.

The airline said the increase equated to “nearly 300%” as it upped departures from Heathrow and Manchester and said “numerous Caribbean flights which were previously scheduled to recommence in August will now take off from July”.

From July 15, flights to Antigua will increase to three times a week, while a daily Barbados service will be available from July 25. Twice-weekly flights will resume to Grenada from July 16.

The newest and largest aircraft in the fleet, the Airbus 350, will fly five times weekly to Barbados from the beginning of August, while other Caribbean services will operate on Boeing 787s.

Virgin will return to Manchester from August 7 and will operate Barbados flights three times a week on a Boeing 787.

Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer, said: “There’s long been pent-up demand to travel so we’re excited that we can finally whisk our customers away for a much-needed sunny break, with even more available flight options, allowing them to enjoy the stunning beaches, warm climate and welcoming hospitality that the Caribbean has buckets of.

“We’re also returning to Manchester as demand increases from our customers to travel to Barbados this summer.  We’re pleased to be returning to our home in north and expect to announce the restart of many more Manchester services soon.”

Earlier this week, the airline announced its return to Heathrow’s Terminal 3. It also confirmed new bookings for the Caribbean services will feature unlimited free date and flight changes, with a rebooking deadline extended to April 30, 2023.

Lee Haslett, sales vice-president, hailed the increase in capacity and announced a trade incentive to mark the returns.

He said: “We are delighted to be increasing our capacity into the Caribbean to meet the demand we have seen from across the trade.  Our agent partners are hugely important to us and in celebration of these increased flights we will be launching a lucrative sales incentive into the market.

“We’re offering the opportunity to win four premium economy seats to Barbados – the details of which will be posted on our trade website vsflyinghub.com.”

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