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Virgin Atlantic and Delta adjust winter transatlantic schedule

Virgin Atlantic Airways and Delta Air Lines are adjusting their joint winter schedule between London Heathrow and the USA, with changes coming to the Los Angeles and New York markets.

Atlanta-based Delta will shift its once daily Heathrow-Los Angeles flight to Virgin Atlantic from 7 October with the two maintaining their joint twice daily service pattern, the UK-based carrier confirms. Virgin will operate a 316-seat Airbus A340-600 on the route, replacing a Delta Boeing 767-300ER with about 208 seats.

In addition, Delta will discontinue its once daily Heathrow-Newark flight on 7 October leaving just Virgin Atlantic’s once daily flight in the market.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic will continue to offer eight daily flights between London Heathrow and New York John F Kennedy International airport.

“As part of our joint venture with Delta, we are continually evaluating our combined network to ensure we are putting the right aircraft on the right routes to best serve our customer’s needs,” says a Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman.

The changes come as Delta plans a 3% reduction in international capacity beginning in the fourth quarter. While executives have not detailed exactly where the cuts will occur, they have said that the majority would be on services to Africa, Brazil, India, Japan, the Middle East and Russia.

In addition, Delta has reached an agreement to swap an undisclosed number of slots at Newark to United Airlines in exchange for the Chicago-based carrier’s slots at New York JFK from this October. The loss of slots could be driving the London Heathrow frequency reduction.

Delta took over one of Virgin Atlantic’s two Heathrow-Los Angeles flights in October 2014 and one of the Virgin’s two Heathrow-Newark flights this March.

The two carriers operate an immunised joint venture alliance between the UK and the USA with Delta owning a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic.

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