Having just missed out to Virgin Atlantic for the European Commissions nomination to operate the Heathrow-Edinburgh routes, Aer Lingus has now reached an agreement with Virgin to operate the route on their behalf.
The four Aer Lingus A320 aircraft are planned to commence operations on 31 March 2013 and it is intended that the aircraft will be deployed, in Virgin livery, on short haul services connecting London Heathrow with Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Stephen Kavanagh, Aer Lingus Chief Commercial Officer said: “We are very pleased to have reached agreement in principle with Virgin Atlantic to provide the aircraft, maintenance and crew with which they will serve their new domestic operations and look forward to now progressing to contract.”
Virgin Atlantic’s short haul operation will directly create around 130 flying jobs and 25 new head office jobs to launch this short haul operation and will indirectly protect roles in suppliers and other stakeholders including ground handling agents and airport teams.
Virgin Atlantic’s domestic operation will begin with its summer schedule from 31st March 2013 and will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 1. Tickets for the Scottish routes will go on sale from Wednesday 19th December with fares starting from £99 return.
These flights will be operated on behalf of Virgin Atlantic in Heathrow Terminal One where Aer Lingus is already based. However Aer Lingus customers most likely receive any additional benefits other than what already exist between EI and VS.
Virgin have also just announced a deal with Delta to purchase a 49% which opens up to perhaps a membership of the SkyTeam alliance. So perhaps in the future the agreement with Aer Lingus can expand.