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30 Mar 2016

BY Gary Noakes

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Virgin strikes deal with Flybe for more regional flights

Virgin Atlantic is to fly from Manchester to San Francisco and Boston next summer and has struck a deal with Flybe to offer regional connections from key UK, Ireland and European airports.

A330 Virgin Atlantic aircraft
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How Virgin will offer new regional connections through its Flybe partnership

Both new routes will be summer-only, with San Francisco operating three times a week from March 28 to October 27 and Boston twice a week from March 29 to October 28. Virgin’s will be the first-ever flights to San Francisco from Manchester.

Erik Varwijk, Virgin Atlantic’s executive vice president of commercial said: “In addition to our current services to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Orlando and Barbados, the new routes to San Francisco and Boston really open up America for our customers.

He added: “This year marks 20 years of our first ever flight from Manchester and we’ll continue to look for opportunities to offer our unique experience on routes where our customers are looking to fly.”

The deal with Flybe allows connections to and from Manchester, Gatwick and Glasgow from 18 airports, as far apart as Exeter, Knock, Hanover and Milan.

It mirrors Flybe’s partnership with Thomas Cook Airlines at Manchester, where the regional carrier accounts for 10-15% of passengers on Cook’s US flights. Manchester is the biggest beneficiary of the Virgin/Flybe partnership, with 14 connecting flights.

The deal allows for “seamless’ travel, with luggage checked through to the final destination.

Manchester Airport managing director Ken O’Toole said securing the Manchester-San Francisco flight “will deliver a real boost to the North’s economy by providing a direct link to the world’s leading location for tech and biomedical start-ups, which is now home to some of the biggest brands on the planet like Google, Twitter and Uber.
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