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Virgin Atlantic sales boss expects ‘one of our best summers’

Virgin Atlantic expects one of its best summers this year, thanks to strong leisure demand and the recovery of its corporate market.

Lee Haslett, global sales vice-president at the airline, told a Travel Weekly webcast: “We are in a very good place for summer.

“We had a good Easter from an operational perspective. We have come through that relatively well – during the Easter to half term there was minimal disruption.

“It will be one of our best summers; July and August are shaping up to be very strong.”

He said load factors are above where the airline had wanted them to be, and just a few percentage points down on 2019.

Furthermore, the near-term booking curve is “very strong”, he said.

“In the last 28 days, over a third of all new bookings were made to depart in the next 45 days.”

He said the corporate recovery is also ahead of predictions as people are “desperate to get back to face-to-face meetings”.

There is strong demand for groups, meetings and incentives, as well as events such as the recent Miami grand prix.

And he said the traditional leisure market is strong, with Virgin’s US network serving Orlando, Miami, the Caribbean, New York and Las Vegas.

He was talking as the airline was promoting its new service to Austin, Texas, as well as its latest TV campaign featuring the carrier’s crew and passengers.

Haslett described Austin as having an “entrepreneurial, cool, hip culture”, with major head offices for companies such as Apple, Tesla, Dell, Amazon and Meta/Facebook.

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