Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Afpwong.

LONDON – Virgin Atlantic have announced a daily operation between London Heathrow and São Paulo Guarulhos airport in Brazil, days before Norwegian start their operation from London Gatwick to São Paulo.  

When the route commences operation in 2020, it will be the first venture for Virgin Atlantic into the South American market.

Operations will run with the Boeing 787 in a three-class configuration, offering seats in Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy.

São Paulo is the largest economic city in the Americas after New York, and it is this business traffic that Virgin hope to capitalise upon.

Not only is it the business people market that Virgin want to capture, but also the cargo market, with capacity for multiple tonnes each direction.

Cargo that can be expected includes car parts, pharmaceuticals, food and agricultural products.

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic Executive Vice President – Commercial, commented: “2019 marks the start of a new phase of growth for Virgin Atlantic as we work to become the most loved travel company. São Paulo represents an incredible opportunity for our business, and we’re very excited to be flying to a brand new continent for the first time.”

“There are a significant number of corporate customers, and multi-national businesses, located in this Powerhouse of South America who can now enjoy the Virgin Atlantic experience on this busy international route.”

Alongside the business market, Virgin Holidays will be launching a full catalog of products inside of Brazil.  The products will take in Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina and the Amazon Rainforest, amongst other places.

Jarvinen continued to say “But it’s not all about business – I’m also thrilled to introduce an exciting new destination to our leisure customers. São Paulo boasts numerous cultural institutions such as the Museu de Arte, has a rich architectural history and acts as a gateway for leisure travel within the rest of Brazil and beyond.”

This is a prime opportunity for Virgin Holidays who are busy securing a range of ancillary partners and diverse accommodation options for those customers seeking a full-service holiday offering.”

The new route announcement is only part of Virgin Atlantic’s growth plan.  

In 2019, the airline will receive their first A350-1000, with a brand new experience for passengers.

Once the route is running with Virgin Atlantic, it will be in direct competition with Norwegian.

At this point, consumers will have the ability to choose from two UK based airlines, and it will be up to the consumer to decide whether they want the full ‘legacy’ experience, or the low cost product.