DALLAS – The much-anticipated Virgin Atlantic (VS) service to Cape Town will resume on November 5, 2022. Sir Richard Branson was in South Africa with the VS team to commemorate the re-launch, taking a special open-top bus tour of the city.
The new winter service, which will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 aircraft, will run until March 24, 2023, and will supplement the existing year-round daily service to Johannesburg. Between Cape Town and London (LHR), the route will have over 80,000 seats.
Following the removal of South Africa from the UK’s red list in December, demand from British holidaymakers seeking an exciting and attractive place to jet off to after two years of restrictions has increased. Additionally, Cape Town is a destination sought after by competing carriers in the US in preparation for a post-pandemic recovery of international air travel.
The news comes at a time when United Airlines (UA) files its application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for three weekly nonstop flights between Washington, D.C. (IAD) and Cape Town (CPT). Last month, South Africa’s government granted Delta Air Lines (DL) its bid to fly between Atlanta and CPT via Johannesburg.
Comments from Virgin Atlantic Founder
During the launch celebrations, Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said, “South Africa is home to so much of our Virgin family, from Virgin Active to our Virgin Limited Edition getaways, Ulusaba and Mont Rochelle – it’s a pleasure to be opening this route for even more people to experience all that Cape Town has to offer.”
“Virgin Atlantic relaunched this route in 2020 to connect people with their loved ones and allow even more people to visit this incredible country. The pandemic might have put a temporary stop to that, but our fantastic team can’t wait to welcome passengers later this year.
“As part of our commitment to protecting this wonderful planet which we call home, Virgin Atlantic is introducing a newer, more sustainable aircraft, to this route – the Boeing 787-900 – which the team is particularly excited about. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient aircraft out there and has a reduced fuel burn compared with aircraft of a similar size.”
Following an assessment of the carrier’s network, VS canceled direct flights between LHR and Cape Town in 2015 after 16 years of operation. Following Thomas Cook Airlines’ demise in 2019, the carrier stepped in to replace capacity, indicating in February 2020, just before the pandemic froze most international air travel, that the route would be relaunched later that year.
Featured image: Virgin Atlantic G-VBOW Boeing 787-9. Photo: Luca Flores/Airways