MIAMI — Virgin Atlantic announced the cancellation of its London-Heathrow (LHR) – Dubai (DXB) service from March 31, 2019, after reviewing the route’s performance and deeming it no longer viable.
The British carrier made the “difficult decision” yesterday after a thorough review of the route’s economic performance.
The airline’s soon-to-be CEO, Shai Weiss, admitted that it is “never an easy decision to withdraw a route, and we’d like to thank our customers and dedicated team in Dubai for their loyalty over the last 12 years.”
Virgin Atlantic will continue operating its daily LHR-DXB flight and selling tickets until the last flight’s day, on March 31 next year.
Weiss admitted that it “will be sad to say goodbye to this fantastic city.”
Virgin Atlantic has been operating this route since 2006.
The LHR-DXB route is one of the world’s busiest long-haul routes with over 10 flights per day offered by four different airlines.
As of today, Emirates tops the list with six daily flights, followed by British Airways with three, and closing with Virgin Atlantic and Royal Brunei with only one.
Emirates’ six daily flights are all served with its Airbus A380, offering almost 6,000 daily seats per day on a round-trip basis.
On top of that, Emirates also flies to London’s other airports, Gatwick (LGW) and Stansted (STN).
READ MORE: Emirates Inaugurates London-Stansted Route
Overall, the Dubai-based carrier offers 70 flights per week between Dubai and London, whereas British Airways offers only 19.
The over-saturation of this route then makes perfectly logical for Virgin Atlantic to be facing viability challenges, as the airline is likely relying on connecting traffic through its LHR hub to cater the route to DXB.
Royal Brunei, too, will be axing the route on October 28, 2018, as the airline expects to launch direct flights between Brunei and London with its newly acquired Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The Brunei flag carrier will be reducing its round-trip flying time to/from London by 3.5 hours, said the carrier, therefore making the stop in Dubai unnecessary.
With both carriers dropping the route, following Qantas’ lead last year, the Dubai-London route will naturally follow the market’s demands and level up with only two contenders: Emirates and British Airways.
It remains to be seen how the pricing offer will shift now that capacity will be somewhat reduced, though excellently covered by a myriad of flight options throughout the day.