Virgin Atlantic over-eggs it

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Virgin Atlantic has added to the confusion of how well the long-haul market is performing.

image of Montego Bay - a key destination for British holidaymakers
Montego Bay is the entry point for most travellers

Publcity suggests that the travel industry is doing well now that the USA has opened up. Planes are reported to be full and news media report that some airlines are adding additional flights.

But then there were few flights to strat with so adding an extra one or even two doesn’t mean that flight numbers to some destinations are back to pre-pandemic levels.

Over the weekend there were rumous that Virgin Atlantic was seeing a spike on flights to the USA so was actively considering reintroducing flights from Gatwick, something it dropped a while ago.

But almost hand-in hand with that was the announcement that it was dropping its flighst from Manchester to Barbados and that it would not go ahead with its planned Manchester – Montego Bay flights. The three times a week service with 264 seats on each flight had been on sale for just over two months. That the entire service has been delayed a year rather than reducing the number of flights from three to one suggests there is insufficient interest by potenmtial passengers.

For Barbados, this must have been a blow as even though the flight wase not in the peak winter sun season, the suggestion is that bookings for next summer were not as high as had been forecasted by the airline.

For Jamaica, the delay in a year from this November to next coming so late in the day must have been an even bigger blow.

The three times a week service with 264 seats on each flight had been on sale for just over two months. That the entire service has been delayed a year rather than reducing the number of flights from three to one suggests there is insufficient interest by potential passengers.

If people from the Manchester area couldn’t fill a plane in the peak winter sun season to a majore Caribbean destination when could they fill it? The airline seems to be pinning its faith on the fact that another year needs to pass before it can fill a single plane.

It comes at a time when the Jamaica Tourist Board is planning to run ten familiarisation trips to the island next year for British travel agents – the same number as in the pre-pandemic days of 2019.

One again, this situation suggest that airlines and the travel industry is exaggerating the true state of what is happening in travel.

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