Virgin Atlantic, which took over Atlanta flights to the northwestern English city of Manchester from its joint-venture partner Delta Air Lines three years ago, is expanding the route’s capacity by nearly 60 percent.
Virgin will deploy a Boeing 747 that can seat 455 people on the route starting next summer, up from two separate Airbus planes that could hold a maximum of 287 passengers.
The move comes as part of a broader Virgin expansion in Manchester that will see the carrier boost its daily departures from the airport by 20 percent to six . A new Los Angeles route will be added from May 31, 2019, while the number of flights to Las Vegas and Boston will be increased. New York will also see the 747 put into action.
“By putting our aircraft on our New York, Atlanta, Boston and now Los Angeles flights, we
can really maximize connectivity through our partner Delta, allowing even more customers to take
advantage of over 200 US connections,” said Shai Weiss, chief commercial officer at Virgin Atlantic, in a news release.
Flights to Manchester, a major industrial city and education hub, are integral to linking the U.S. with so-called “powerhouse” regions of the United Kingdom outside London, a key goal of the British government as it aims to spread economic activity more equitably throughout the country.
On the outbound side, a partnership with British budget carrier FlyBe will help U.K. travelers connect to these new and expanded Virgin routes in Manchester.
Virgin Group founder and Chairman Richard Branson will be in Atlanta this Wednesday, June 20, for an event with Delta President Ed Bastian.