A membership of an alliance may be less beneficial to Virgin Atlantic Airways, following its network shift to serve more London-bound transatlantic passengers.
“Virgin Atlantic’s need for connectivity is somewhat reduced,” says Perry Cantarutti, chief executive of SkyTeam, on the airline’s network changes at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Dublin.
Virgin Atlantic has gradually shifted its fleet towards more transatlantic flying from London Heathrow and other airports in the UK since Delta Air Lines bought a 49% stake in the carrier in 2013 and the launch of their joint venture in 2014.
The airline ended service to Cape Town, Mumbai, Tokyo and Vancouver in late 2014 and 2015, shifting those aircraft to new and expanded transatlantic services.
Earlier this week, Delta and Virgin Atlantic announced plans to operate 42 peak daily flights between the UK and the USA in the summer of 2017, their largest schedule ever in the market.
The two carriers have focused on increasing their share of the transatlantic origin and destination (O&D) market from London with their schedule expansions and service enhancements.
These changes reduce the potential benefit of a membership in SkyTeam – and all the connectivity that that includes – to Virgin Atlantic, says Cantarutti.
“I’m not out recruiting,” he says, but adds that the alliance the would not say no if Virgin Atlantic came knocking.
Source: Cirium Dashboard