1. ITV Report

Virgin unveil Manchester to London short haul route

The new route opens in March next year. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic has outlined plans to fly from London Heathrow to Manchester Airport from next spring.

The announcement comes after sister company Virgin Trains lost its contract to operate rail services on the West Coast Main Line, between the two cities.

The new route is the airline's first foray into domestic flying.

Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive, Steve Ridgway said: "Flying between Heathrow and Manchester is just the start for Virgin Atlantic's new short haul operation.

“We have the means to connect thousands of passengers to our long haul network as well as to destinations served by other carriers.

“Our new service will provide strong competition to omnipresent BA; keep fares low and give consumers a genuine choice of airline to fly to Heathrow and beyond."

Ken O'Toole, Chief Commercial Officer at Manchester Airports Group, said: "We are pleased to see Virgin Atlantic increasing their presence in Manchester and to see competition returning on the London route, as that will be to the benefit of passengers flying from our airport.

“We aim to support our airlines as they look to grow and we hope the success of Virgin's domestic services will lead to further expansion at Manchester."