Coronavirus: Virgin Atlantic to resume flights in July with 'safety packs' on board

4 June 2020, 15:43

Virgin Atlantic to confirm more destinations by August
Virgin Atlantic to confirm more destinations by August. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Virgin Atlantic has said it will resume passenger flights from 20 July between London, US and parts of Asia, with plans to expand this by August.

The first routes to reopen will be from London Heathrow to Orlando, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

It said it said it hoped to see "steadily increasing passenger flying" in the final half of the year, and with a "gradual recovery" in 2021, subject to customer demand.

Details on other routes to be resumed will be released in the next few weeks.

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To ensure safety of passengers on board its flights, which were halted as a result of shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic, the company has said it will use powerful disinfectant on board flights that will ensure "no surface is left untouched".

Where social distancing is not possible, passengers will be required wear face masks.

Passengers will also receive a "health pack" including a medical-grade mask, a hand wipe, and some gel.

A revised food a drinks service will also be available on board.

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Chief operating officer Juha Jarvinen said Virgin was "monitoring external conditions extremely closely," and was enthusiastic about aviation being a "vital enabler of the UK's economic recovery".

The UK currently has a quarantine policy in place that requires incoming travellers to self-isolate for 14 days - the incubation period of COVID-19.

Virgin Atlantic has been forced to restructure its company during the outbreak, reducing its workforce by 3,150 and cancelling its operations out of Gatwick Airport.

Just last month, company founder Richard Branson agreed to sell shares worth around £405 million in his Virgin Galactic space business to prop up his airline and leisure ventures.

He had earlier looked to the government for support in the struggling business, saying he would also be willing to remortgage his Caribbean island home on Necker Island.

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The aviation industry on a whole has been devastated by the pandemic as countries have been forced to close their borders in a bid to stop the virus from spreading.

But as the pandemic appears to subside - with many nations reporting fewer cases day upon day - other airlines have also looked to resuming routes.

British Airways has revealed it has plans to launch "a meaningful return to service" in July, while easyJet is set to resume mainly domestic flights on 15 June.