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#956626 by Hurricane86
14 Jul 2020, 18:28
I completely agree that VS needs to diversify away from the USA, and fast. Whether that is a permanent change or one that lasts for the duration of Covid is a different matter, but I do think there’s a (small) niche to be exploited right now for long-haul holidays to “safe” destinations. Volume will definitely be very low, but yield could potentially be high if it’s the ‘super wealthy’ that want to travel and they choose routes with little competition.

At the end of the day VS will be forced to go down that path because long-haul business travel is still sidelined for most, and the USA remains out of bounds to all but US passport holders. Tourism to the USA looks to be impossible, certainly for months and possibly until after the election in November.

In the short term, I think the airline’s route map should be led by any profitable freight destinations (probably to the USA) and also to wherever Virgin Holidays can identify is a resilient and safe market.

I’m absolutely delighted that funding has been secured and the airline finally has some breathing space and a shot at a more financially sustainable future.
#956627 by ColOrd
14 Jul 2020, 18:52
I think Shai’s strategy was already moving away from the US, TLV, BOM, CPT, the now abandoned GRU & MAN-DEL (but only due to Covid) were all pretty clear that Delta UK was no longer the strategy.

I’m also of the belief that more non US flying will emerge in the intervening period, probably first focused around the Caribbean, but I think potentially some other non US destinations may emerge if CV19 remains low in them and holiday demand is high.

Personally I am delighted by today’s news, and it is a testament to both Shai and SRB that they haven’t let this airline die and have fought for survival!

One negative point that has really wound me up though has been the misinformed ignorance that has surrounded this announcement on Twitter! The vitriol spewing from some elements of society is truly truly awful!
#956628 by SlimpyJones
14 Jul 2020, 19:06
ColOrd wrote:One negative point that has really wound me up though has been the misinformed ignorance that has surrounded this announcement on Twitter! The vitriol spewing from some elements of society is truly truly awful!


Personally this is why I don't even bother looking at places like Twitter or Facebook. I don't think there's ever been a time when I've been on them and not left annoyed in some way!

Going to echo everything else that is written and express my delight that the airline will survive in the medium term. I agree also that next steps should/could be a focus on flying elsewhere for now. The only places not completely in the muck are the Carribean, China and Nigeria.

I'm also hoping that there will be another six month extension of FC status based on this fact. I can't do endless weekend trips to the Carribean! As lovely as that would be :-D
#956629 by ColOrd
14 Jul 2020, 19:44
I only did it the once but I really miss DXB so much so that it’s the one destination that would force me into breaking my VS loyalty!
#956630 by Dobbo
15 Jul 2020, 09:48
This is certainly encouraging - and planned the fleet size has increased from 36 to 37 from May which seems more logical if you assume all A35K delivered and 8 A339neo (I don’t know if the 6 leased are not as firm as supposed or if the deliveries are deferred).

Fingers crossed by summer 2021 things are on the way back up...
#956640 by Joshl257
16 Jul 2020, 11:52
First off my thoughts go out to the 3000 staff who have lost their jobs. Gatwick is a loss but only with a handful of routes you can see why they did it. The HQ will stay at Gatwick as I don't think Virgin can get out of that lease anytime soon. As for Heathrow those 27 slots will not be and issue in the short term but as things get back to normal in 2022 and 2023 it will not be enough. I was reading before lockdown about how Virgin/Delta had inquired about some AA/BA remedy slots for MIA DFW BOS.

As for Manchester everything is up in the air we will be lucky to get VS109 back for the end of the year. The 2TX will now not open to 2021 as MAG want to do testing that was planned for April May this year. That also means the clubhouse will not open as it's located in T2X on the top floor.

As for fleet 747 was retiring next year anyway so early retirement for those aircraft and pilots. 787 and A330 making up the bulk of the fleet for now. A350 orders 3 are sat in Toulouse currently 1 a former test aircraft. A330 Neo's I'm not 100% about this order because I think when it was made Delta had a lot to do with it.

I would much rather Virgin convert them to A350-900's and push them back to 2025 or later, because your not going to need 14 plus aircraft anytime soon. United have done something similar with their A350 order.
#956650 by VS075
20 Jul 2020, 09:26
Not much to add to the discussions other than to share my delight at a deal being reached and agree with everything that's been posted. I hope this isn't a short-term reprieve and I'm wise enough to realise that the next steps are largely dependent on how the market recovers from COVID-19.

gumshoe wrote:Even with an all widebody fleet might there be a future in flying to popular holiday destinations like the Canaries, Balearics, Malaga, Faro and Turkey - particularly given many of the normal Orlando crowd will be looking for safer alternatives? Or have Tui, Jet2 and easyJet got that market sewn up?


I would say Europe/short-haul is well sewn up. So much so, it's an over-saturated market and one of many reasons why Monarch and Thomas Cook failed and why the likes of Norwegian haven't been able to disrupt the UK-Europe market besides flights to/from Scandinavia. The onboard product wouldn't work either unless VS invested in short-haul aircraft and fitted them out in an all-Y config. That said, TLV falls into the short-haul bracket and I didn't expect it to do as well as it appeared to be doing pre-COVID.

For the European holiday market, I say VS should leave them to it.

I agree however that diversifying into more non-US markets is worth considering, both all-new markets and those that were previously served if the market is more favourable nowadays.
#956658 by Sealink
20 Jul 2020, 20:58
There isn’t much actual cash in the deal, it seems to be suspending licensing payments etc.

I wish them every success, I’ve just transferred all my miles to Hilton for staycationing.
#956659 by Hurricane86
20 Jul 2020, 23:37
Nice to see Leading Lady (G-VWOO) on its way to HKG tonight as VS206, the first VS flight to carry passengers in some time. Hopefully the first of many in the coming months.
#956661 by scruickshank
21 Jul 2020, 01:53
ColOrd wrote:I only did it the once but I really miss DXB so much so that it’s the one destination that would force me into breaking my VS loyalty!


Suddenly DXB seems like not such a bad idea again. I never did buy the whole excuse for dropping the route. It was my most flown route and consistently busy. Cue the appointment of Israeli born Shai and the UAE (who coincidently do not politically recognise Israel as a state) gets dropped. And Tel Aviv added. Hmmmmmm.
#956667 by VS075
21 Jul 2020, 09:40
scruickshank wrote:
ColOrd wrote:I only did it the once but I really miss DXB so much so that it’s the one destination that would force me into breaking my VS loyalty!


Suddenly DXB seems like not such a bad idea again. I never did buy the whole excuse for dropping the route. It was my most flown route and consistently busy. Cue the appointment of Israeli born Shai and the UAE (who coincidently do not politically recognise Israel as a state) gets dropped. And Tel Aviv added. Hmmmmmm.


I think you're being a tad cynical.

I can understand why DXB was dropped given that they're up against several Emirates A380's per day from both LHR and LGW, as well as a STN-DXB flight and BA's own offering. Factor in the limited connection options at the UK end given that EK have most parts of the UK covered with flights from MAN, BHX, NCL, GLA and EDI in addition to LHR/LGW/STN, VS really were a bit-part player in that market and I'm not surprised it wasn't profitable enough to justify its continued operation (assuming it wasn't making enough/making a loss).

TLV I wasn't sure about because they're up against BA, El Al and easyJet (not all from LHR granted) and it firmly falling into the same short-haul bracket as the old Athens route. My gut feeling is that TLV was driven by DL to expand connection options given that flights between the US and Israel seem to be popular, though with pre-COVID plans to make TLV double-daily it would suggest to me it was a good decision to enter the TLV market.
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