Virgin Atlantic axes Heathrow to Austin service amid network changes

Virgin Atlantic is dropping its Heathrow service to Austin following a network review as the airline prepares to return to full capacity in 2024.

The Austin route, which has been operating since May 2022, will be served by its final flight from Heathrow on January 7.

Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Juha Järvinen cited a softening in corporate demand as the reason for axing the route.

He said: “We’ve adored flying our customers to Austin and experiencing this wonderful city of music and culture, but demand in the tech sector is not set to improve in the near term. Therefore, sadly we made the tough decision to withdraw services.”

He added: “We’d like to thank everyone in Austin – our customers, teams, partners and the authorities – for their support over the past 18 months.”

The airline reported that corporate demand has fallen to 70% of 2019 levels.

Yet Virgin Atlantic will take delivery of six new aircraft next year, resulting in a total fleet of 45 – the same figure as in 2019, but providing more capacity.

A network review, undertaken as the airline continues to aim for profitability, has led to a number of changes in addition to the abandonment of the Austin service.

The airline plans to boost its Heathrow to Barbados service from 11 flights a week to 14 between January 10 and March 29, 2024.

It also plans to increase the number of flights from Heathrow to Miami from 11 a week to 14 for the summer 2024 season.

The number of winter flights to Dubai is set to grow from four times a week to daily for the 2024/25 season.

Järvinen said: “Demand for leisure travel shows no signs of slowing, so we are adapting our network to fly our customers to where they want to go, with more frequency on our popular leisure destinations to Barbados, Miami and Dubai throughout 2024.”

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