Virgin Atlantic has mandated Lithuanian wet-lease specialist Avion Express to provide Airbus A320s for its upcoming domestic services, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The UK carrier circulated a tender earlier this year for A320 wet leases for deployment on its short-haul London Heathrow services.
Sources tell Flightglobal that Virgin's requirement is for four to five A320s, and that Avion Express has been selected as the wet-lease partner for its upcoming flights to Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Virgin had previously indicated that it was planning to deploy A319s on the Manchester route.
Avion Express placed advertisements in the UK press this month stating that it is recruiting "Airbus A320 pilots and cabin crew for a longer term contract for scheduled operations based in London Heathrow, starting on March 2013".
Virgin's Manchester-Heathrow services will begin on 31 March 2013, while its Scottish services are due to commence "around" the same time, pending final discussions with the CAA and competition authorities.
According to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database, Avion Express has five A320-family aircraft in its fleet along with two Saab 340 freighters.
Avion Express this year started operating a pair of A320s under a wet-lease agreement with Icelandic start-up Wow Air. The agreement runs through to May 2013, but is subject to extension.
Virgin Atlantic could not be reached for comment, while Avion Express declined to respond to queries.