Virgin Atlantic announced that it will begin flying routes between Asia and the U.S. once again starting July 20 and July 21.
The airline will start with flights from London Heathrow to New York JFK, Los Angeles, Orlando, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Other routes will be announced in the next two weeks that will start in the month of August with a gradual recovery planned through 2021.
As the Covid-19 crisis stabilizes and demand slowly returns, we are looking forward to welcoming our customers back onboard and flying them safely to their favorite destinations,” said Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer, Virgin Atlantic. “To ensure the health and safety of our customers and our people, we’re introducing new measures at every point in the journey to offer peace of mind when taking to the skies with us.”
On July 20, the first flights will be to Orlando and Hong Kong.
“Our planned first flights will be to Orlando and Hong Kong on the 20th July, however, we are monitoring external conditions extremely closely, in particular the travel restrictions many countries have in place including the 14-day quarantine policy for travelers entering the UK,” said Jarvinen. “We know that as the Covid-19 crisis subsides, air travel will be a vital enabler of the UK’s economic recovery. Therefore, we are calling for a multi-layered approach of carefully targeted public health and screening measures, which will allow for a successful and safe restart of international air travel for passengers and businesses. We are planning to announce more destination restart dates in the next two weeks for the month of August.”
Virgin Atlantic is implementing additional measures to offer peace of mind at the airport and in-flight, including enhanced and thorough cleaning practices at check-in, boarding gates and on board—such as the use of electrostatic spraying of high-grade disinfectant on board in all cabins and lavatories, ensuring no surface is left untouched.
Safe distancing will be required where possible, and the use of masks will be required. A personal health pack will be provided that will include a medical-grade face mask as a requirement to be worn on board, surface wipes and hand gel.
A simplified hot meal will be served on board that will minimize contact.
“Our teams have been working tirelessly to ensure that the health and safety of our airport and onboard experience offers peace of mind to our customers when traveling with us,” said Corneel Koster, chief customer officer at Virgin Atlantic. “Our medical experts are working closely with all relevant U.K. and international health and aviation authorities to ensure we adhere to, and on many occasions exceed the guidance they are offering, whilst continuously reviewing and updating the measures we have in place to keep our customers and teams safe.”
Virgin is also calling for extra measures such as temperature checks.
“We are carrying out health questionnaires before check-in and are calling upon airport and health authorities to put temperature checks in place as part of a multi-layered, end-to-end health screen,” said Koster. “We have introduced a personal Health Pack for the comfort of all customers, containing medical-grade face masks, surface wipes and hand gel, and are implementing a series of measures to limit customer-to-customer and customer-to-crew contact throughout the journey. While we will continuously review our measures, wearing a mask for the duration of the flight will initially be required. Our meticulous cleaning program ensures our planes are disinfected and amongst the cleanest in the skies, while we work with our airport partners to ensure sanitization of customer touchpoints on the ground. Our customers are in safe hands and we are really looking forward to welcoming them back onboard from the 20th July.”