The two airlines plan for their new partnership to take off on March 30th 2014, combining slots at Heathrow.
Virgin Atlantic has had a tough year, with rising fuel costs and increased competition from rivals. It recently reported losses of £80m.
It's the political row that won't go away because Heathrow & Gatwick have limited capacity, but voters don't want a new airport near them.
Plans to expand Gatwick Airport will aim to tackle heavy traffic on the roads surrounding the travel hub. Roads including the M23 and M25 are congested and trains are overcrowded. The airport says better access is vital and is looking at ways to reduce its impact on the transport network.
Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker has called on the British government to urgently address capacity constraints at London Heathrow to avoid a ‘catastrophic situation’ for the country’s economy.
Al Baker said the third runway debate ‘was not an option, but a necessity’ to overcome the capacity crunch Britain’s premier airport was currently facing. “Heathrow is bursting at the seams and has already reached a critical point,” he said.
Mr Baker continued: “Already heading towards a double dip recession, the UK cannot afford to lose out on the huge benefits a third runway would bring to the economy in south east England and the country as a whole through the creation of more jobs and more business opportunities.”
VIDEO: While the final decision over any second runway at Gatwick lies with the Government, campaigners opposed to expansion say they have real fears over increased noise levels and the harm on the environment. Phil and Sangeeta introduce this evening's item.
The number of private and executive jets using the regions airports during the Olympics failed to meet expectations according to new figures.
Around in in four four fewer planes than expected took to the sky with a big rise in the number of people flying out of the UK to escape the games.
While our key business airports did see many extra flights there were not as many as forecast by transport officials. The biggest number of business fights were at: Farnborough with 1,800 movements - up 16 per cent. Biggin Hill with 1,231 - up 19 per cent.Oxford with 600 - up 40 per cent.
Industry experts say many people travelled by scheduled planes rather than fly into our business airports and that bigger than expected numbers of people flew out to avoid the event. But the regions leading business airport said they had been busy.
– Roger Walker, TAG Farnborough airport operations director says
TAG Farnborough has been busy with heads of state and Olympic Committee members. We have been planning for the Olympics for eighteen months and our new hangers, apron and lounges were well received."Add to that the Farnborough Airshow ending just twelve days before the Olympics and and it has been particularly eventful."
Mr Ridgway insisted that air travel was a "different market" from rail services between Manchester and London. The airline will operate three daily flights to Manchester using Airbus A319 aircraft from March 31 next year.
Flights between Heathrow and the North West will begin next spring using leased aircraft, Mr Ridgway said. Mr Ridgway insisted that air travel was a "different market" from rail services between Manchester and London.
– Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive Virgin Atlantic Airways
"Virgin Atlantic has obviously provided great competition over the years internationally on the long-haul routes and this is about redressing that as part of the process of making sure that BA doesn't become a monopolist on all the routes bmi used to fly."