Virgin Atlantic has pushed back the launch of a daily service between London-Heathrow (LHR) and São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) until the summer of 2025. Flights were due to commence on May 13, operating daily between the two cities.
The announcement marks the airline backtracking on the new route, having only announced its launch in May 2023 and reservations for the service having only opened in September. The company is citing a review of its summer 2024 flying program for the reversal.
“We are thrilled to begin flying to São Paulo,” said Juha Jarvinen, Virgin’s Chief Commercial Officer. “It’s the gateway to South America and signifies an incredibly exciting opportunity for us. We regularly review our network to ensure it’s as strong and efficient as possible. Following a review of our upcoming flying program for 2024, we will be moving the start of our highly anticipated Sao Paulo services to 2025. We remain committed to flying to Brazil and look forward to welcoming our business and leisure travelers onboard.”
Virgin has said that it will be in contact with anyone who has already made reservations for the service to discuss their options, which include rebooking, if applicable, or a full refund.
The new route was to be the airline’s first to a South American destination and was to be operated by the carrier’s fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The flight from London to the Brazilian city was scheduled to take 11 hours and 55 minutes.
In May, the airline announced a series of new routes spanning three continents as the airline capitalizes on the surge in demand for international travel. Alongside the announcement of daily services to São Paulo, Bengaluru (Bangalore) is due to become the airline’s third destination in India in 2024.
Virgin Atlantic added direct flights from Heathrow to Dubai (DXB) in October and added services to Male (MLE) and Providenciales (PLS) in November. Additionally, the company will add seasonal flights between Manchester (MAN) and Las Vegas (LAS) in June 2024. In total, Virgin Atlantic will be adding a further 250,000 additional seats across its network for the summer of 2024, compared to summer 2019.