Just weeks after Virgin Rail lost the lucrative West Coast train franchise, Virgin Atlantic has announced its plans to launch a domestic air service to Scotland.
The airline’s chief executive said the intention was to see flights scheduled between Aberdeen and Edinburgh to Heathrow from the summer of next year.
Announcing the initiative, which comes on the back of a similar domestic service announcement operating from Manchester to London, Steve Ridgeway said:
“[it is] important to keep Scotland connected to the rest of the world.”
This is a sentiment that echoes the opinion of the Scottish business world. An opinion which is voiced ever more loudly as economic challenges are faced on a huge scale.
British Airways of course runs its own service, but with Virgin entering the market, the increased competition will be welcome. As the new slots are coming by way of the BA purchase of BMI though, there will be no rival service launched out of Glasgow.
Once the regulators have given their okay to the deal, it is likely prices will be forced down. This will be great news for Scottish business, with every penny counting in the present climate.
For the tourist industry in particular, it could be a healthy move.
If visitor numbers can be increased from the south of England, accessing commercial finance for presently stalled growth plans could be forthcoming – though many are already achieving this through invoice factoring.
Final plans will be released by Virgin following a decision by The European Commission later this year, on who will secure Heathrow slots made available following the BMI takeover.