Virgin Atlantic Airways is poised for a major expansion into Europe. Plans for the establishment of a low-cost pan-European airline, possibly based at Brussels or Amsterdam, have advanced to the extent where a decision is expected to be made before the end of the year for a start in the second quarter of 1996.

The new airline, long threatened by Virgin owner Richard Branson, would offer several daily frequencies to other European Union capitals and industrial and tourist centres, catering, as on Virgin's long-haul flights, for a mix of business and leisure traffic. A fleet of British Aerospace 146-200 jets, to be leased from British Aerospace's Asset Management Organisation, is envisaged. Some likely destinations include Madrid, Milan, Rome, Nice, Munich and Athens.

Virgin already operates A320 services to Athens from London Heathrow and Gatwick, and has franchised a London City-Dublin-Brussels link to Irish airline City Jet with 77-seat BAe 146s.


Source: Flight International