Virgin Atlantic to re-launch direct flights from London to Toronto 

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Virgin Atlantic has announced it will restart operating direct flights between London and Toronto from March 2025, reviving a route that the carrier previously dropped from its network. The announcement was made during a press conference celebrating the airline’s 40th anniversary, with the carrier having operated its first flight between London-Gatwick Airport (LGW) and New York-Newark Airport (EWR) on June 22, 1984.  

As of March 30, 2025, Virgin Atlantic will operate a daily service between London- Heathrow (LHR) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). The airline states it will use a mix of aircraft types on the 3,556-mile (5,689km) route, including the Airbus A330-900neo, of which the carrier currently operates four. The airline last served Canada via flights to Vancouver in 2014, a route that has also since been discontinued. 

The new route is expected to go live for bookings from June 19, 2024, when the full schedule is also expected to be revealed. According to the carrier, one of the key motivations for restarting the route is to connect two global financial hubs (London and Toronto), plus also providing optimal connectivity for passengers traveling between Canada to Virgin Atlantic’s lucrative India network via London, including flights to Delhi (DEL), Mumbai (BOM), and its newly launched service to Bengaluru (BLR).

The market between India and Canada is becoming increasingly attractive for carriers. Just recently, Air Canada announced a large increase in capacity between Canadian cities and those in India, as previously reported by AeroTime. 

To bolster the route further, Virgin Atlantic is launching an expanded codeshare partnership with Canadian carrier WestJet to come into effect in October 2024. This will allow Canadian customers traveling from cities such as Ottawa and Winnipeg to connect seamlessly onto Virgin’s flights to London. Frequent flyer reciprocity is also expected in 2025. 

The move to restart flights to Toronto may come as a surprise to many. Services to Sao Paulo in Brazil had been slated to start in May 2024 but were said to have been put back a year due to aircraft availability issues in late 2023. One might have assumed that Sao Paulo may have returned first to the list of possible new routes for 2025 although the Indian connectivity issue must make Toronto a more economically viable proposition at this time.


Virgin Atlantic

As Virgin Atlantic gets into the swing of its Ruby anniversary celebrations, at the recent event held on June 10, 2024, the airline’s founder, Sir Richard Branson spoke about his motivation for starting the airline. 

“When starting Virgin Atlantic 40 years ago, I went against everyone’s advice. Friends, experts, the press, the pundits – and on paper, they were right,” Branson said.  

“Back then, traveling by plane wasn’t a fun experience, but airlines were allowed to get away with it as no real competition existed.  I realized then that there was a gap to give passengers a great experience, and I love a challenge. The result was our ruby red airline that shook up aviation. From 1984 to 2024, it’s our people who make me the proudest. They are much more than just a workforce; they are what makes Virgin Atlantic special,” he added. 

Branson added that the carrier is still on course to reach “sustainable profitability” in 2024. 

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