British carrier Virgin Atlantic has today (March 20) announced its first foray into the South American market. From 2020, the airline is set to fly daily between Heathrow and São Paulo/Guarulhos in Brazil.
The company will use its Boeing 787-9s for the new year-round route, which will have an average journey time of 11hr 55min on the outbound sector. The aircraft will include 31 of Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class lie-flat beds, and 35 premium economy seats, as well as its selection of ‘Delight’, ‘Classic’ and ‘Light’ options, with 192 seats in economy.
Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic executive vice president – commercial, commented: “2019 marks the start of a new phase of growth for Virgin Atlantic as we work to become the most loved travel company. São Paulo represents an incredible opportunity for our business, and we’re very excited to be flying to a brand new continent for the first time.”
Jarvinen revealed some of the thinking behind the new route, detailing that both corporate and leisure traffic will have an important role to play. “There are a significant number of corporate customers, and multi-national businesses, located in this powerhouse of South America who can now enjoy the Virgin Atlantic experience on this busy international route. But it’s not all about business – I’m also thrilled to introduce an exciting new destination to our leisure customers. This is a prime opportunity for Virgin Holidays who are busy securing a range of ancillary partners and diverse accommodation options for those customers seeking a full-service holiday offering.”
The airline is currently undergoing a major growth plan, which the carrier says focuses on “delivering irresistible, effortless and great value experiences that customers love”. Later this year, Virgin Atlantic is due to welcome the first four of 12 Airbus A350-1000s to its fleet featuring a redesigned hard product. The carrier is also set to becoming a founding member of a new, US$13bn transatlantic joint venture alongside Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM, with over 300 daily transatlantic flights and 96 non-stop transatlantic routes.
The São Paulo route joins other new links which were previously announced, including Heathrow to Las Vegas/McCarran, Manchester to Los Angeles and Heathrow to Tel Aviv/Ben Gurion.
The company is yet to announce a exact date when the new route will go on sale, saying only that it will be “later this year”.