Chief Executive Officer Craig Kreeger told Bloomberg he was in Washington last week for talks with representatives of the two governments and “heard enough” from both sides to be sure that reaching an agreement on extending the current liberal arrangements won’t be an issue.
Virgin Atlantic unveil three new ways to fly as part of multimillion pound
“I am not even remotely worried about the U.S.-U.K. negotiations,” Kreeger said in an interview in London. “I’m very confident that we will find our way to a very nice solution for the U.S.-U.K. bilateral.”
Kreeger spoke following reports that the U.S. has offered Britain a more limited aviation accord than it has as a member of the European Union. The main stumbling block in negotiations is that the federal government is using a template that has less generous terms than the Open Skies deal with the EU, according to people familiar with the matter.
Virgin Atlantic unveil “three new ways to fly”
U.K. and U.S. officials aim to resolve the differences and reach agreement soon so that airlines can continue to operate with ease after Britain quits the EU in March, the people said.
A potential sticking point is a standard U.S. requirement that foreign airlines be majority owned by citizens of the country where they’re based. Virgin is 51 percent controlled by British founder Richard Branson, but with Air France-KLM Group set to take a major holding his stake is set to drop to 20 percent.
Delta Air Lines Inc. owns 49 percent of Virgin, giving the U.S. carrier an incentive to put its weight behind the conclusion of a deal that retains the status quo or even expands on it.
Craig Kreeger, the airlines chief executive, said: Were unveiling the biggest change to our economy cabin in over a decade – launching three new ways to fly, and a host of innovations on the ground and in the air as part of a wider £300 million investment in our customers.
Virgin Atlantic has unveiled three new economy tiers to compete with low-cost airlines
Negotiations have so far been “positive,” with significant progress, the U.K. Department for Transport said Monday. A State Department official said talks began with the model Open Skies text and included numerous stakeholders, adding that the U.S. is confident a timely agreement can be reached.
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Kreeger said he’s far more concerned about the aviation regime likely to result from negotiations between the U.K. and EU, though Crawley, England-based Virgin Atlantic is insulated from any upheaval by the fact that it has no European flights.
The British-based carrier, founded by Sir Richard Branson, will offer cheaper fares on its routes that are similar to low-cost competitors, where passengers can only take cabin luggage and arent able to choose their seat in advance.
Virgin Atlantic has today announced the launch of three new ways to fly economy as part of a multimillion pound investment in the cabin for the 21st century traveller.
Recognising that one size doesnt fit all, from spring 2018 Virgin Atlantic will introduce economy delight, economy classic and economy light tickets.
The three new ways to fly will allow customers to choose the product that suits their budget and travel style – but never compromise on inclusive food and drink, unrivalled service, and inflight entertainment.
Economy delight will offer the leading economy product of any UK airline – customers will enjoy a seat with 34 inch legroom, priority check in and boarding as well as advanced seat assignment.
There’s no word yet as to how much more an economy delight will cost you but the main perk is more legroom – 34 inches, compared to the 31 inch for the other two tiers. Those who hate queuing will be pleased to know that the economy delight tickets come with priority boarding alongside premium economy customers (which is being renamed as simply ‘premium’). Upper class will remain the same so the airline will now have five different tiers of seats.
Economy classic will now offer free seat assignment – providing extra reassurance for families and groups that they can sit together. The new economy light ticket will always offer Virgin Atlantics lowest fare – making long haul travel affordable and accessible for millennials, and customers jetting off on city breaks.
Craig Kreeger, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, said: Were unveiling the biggest change to our economy cabin in over a decade – launching three new ways to fly, and a host of innovations on the ground and in the air as part of a wider £300 million investment in our customers. We know that one size doesnt fit all, and from spring our customers can afford to be choosy and still travel in the UKs leading economy cabin.
We always want flying with Virgin Atlantic to be more special than other airlines, and well never compromise on excellent service, industry leading food and drink and cutting edge inflight entertainment – regardless of which economy ticket our customers are travelling on, theyll be able to enjoy all this onboard.
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Atlantic, said: When I started Virgin Atlantic I wanted to challenge the status quo and make flying amazing – regardless of which cabin youre in – and thats still true today. Were unveiling a multimillion pound investment to make Virgin Atlantics economy cabin the best of any UK airline and setting the bar for others to follow.
The three new ways to travel are part of a wider investment in Virgin Atlantics economy cabin -delivering innovations on the ground, and in the air:
Investing in additional economy delight seats: At a time when most airlines are packing seats onto planes, Virgin Atlantic is investing in extra leg room. The airline is retrofitting its fleet to provide up to 36 economy delight seats on every flight – offering customers an even comfier journey with spacious 34 inch legroom.
Serving up the best economy meals in the sky: All customers travelling in economy will continue to enjoy a three course meal plus complimentary drinks and snacks –with a focus on supporting independent suppliers such as UK based Fairfield Farm Crisps, and the Grown Up Chocolate Company.
More personalised service at the airport: For the first time Virgin Atlantic is introducing automated bag drop at London airports, freeing up employees to provide a more personalised service where customers need it most. Four kiosks will open at London Gatwick this summer, followed by a further 18 kiosks at London Heathrow from winter 2018.
Keeping our customers connected: Every single seat in economy now offers a personal USB charging point, and every route offers access to high speed Wi-Fi to help customers work and play on the go.
New aircraft: 12 new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft will join the fleet from spring 2019 – offering unrivalled levels of comfort and reliability for customers, and a brand new economy cabin designed with Virgin Atlantics customers in mind.
Virgin scent: Virgin Atlantic has partnered with leading British candle maker Rachel Vosper to create a new scent called Air. Designed to evoke wellbeing and inspire future travel it will be available across check in, the gate and upon boarding the aircraft.
Virgin Atlantic and Delta offer the leading transatlantic partnership, and the new economy products will offer a seamless experience for customers travelling with the airlines. economy delight, economy classic and economy light will complement Deltas Comfort +, Main Cabin and Basic Economy products – always offering a three course meal , Wi-Fi, hundreds of hours of inflight entertainment and excellent service regardless of the ticket type.
Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 33 years ago with innovation and customer service at its core. Today Virgin Atlantic carries 5.5 million customers annually, and was recently named the UKs favourite long haul carrier by Skytrax, Best Transatlantic Airline at the British Travel Awards 2017 and one of the Top 5 Airlines in the World by Airline Ratings.