Virgin Atlantic today announced a new route between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo, Brazil, starting next year. The exact launch date of this new route is unknown but we do know it is scheduled to be an 11hr 55 minute flight and operated by their Boeing 787 Dreamliners with 31 Upper Class, 35 Premium Economy and 192 Economy Class seats.
Important too is that this will open up big cargo haulage opportunities for Brazil-UK trade. In Virgin's press statement they anticipate regular shipments from the automotive, pharmaceutical and food and agricultural industries.
This route will be interesting as it breaks the Oneworld monopoly of British Airways and LATAM. Expect occasional flash sales and copycat moves across the airlines when the route does launch.
Recently Virgin Atlantic got the all-clear from regulators to form a joint venture with Delta and Air France – KLM on the ultra-competitive transatlantic market, as well as launching a new route between London and Tel Aviv, Israel. In addition to this they confirmed they will be receiving 4 out of the 12 Airbus A350-1000s on order.
I would be very interested to see whether somewhere down the line Virgin Atlantic announce a swap to these aircrafts on the Sao Paulo route given its slightly larger capacity. Time will tell