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Virgin Atlantic launch Belfast air service to the US

Virgin Atlantic launch Belfast air service to the US Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic is set to fly from Northern Ireland for the first time.

A total of eight services will be opened between Belfast and Orlando in Florida in June and July 2015.

Virgin is also expanding its existing Las Vegas services by operating flights to the Nevada gambling city from Glasgow in autumn 2015.

More: Virgin Spaceport announcement a 'momentous occasion'

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China state broadcaster reports April Fools' hoax as fact

A prank picture of how the glass-bottomed plane will look
A prank picture of how the glass-bottomed plane will look Credit: Twitter/@VirginAtlantic

When Virgin Atlantic announced on its Twitter feed that it was launching the world's first glass-bottomed aeroplane, most news outlets saw it for the April Fools' Day prank it was.

But China's state broadcaster CCTV failed to get the joke and reported it as fact on its nightly news programme World Express, according to the Telegraph.

The alarm was raised when Chinese bloggers noticed that the story was being reported as a hoax in western media.

See some more of the April Fools' Day hoaxes in the news here.

Branson hails partnership between Virgin and Delta

Sir Richard Branson said the alliance between Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines was "exciting" after a deal was struck between the two companies.

Sir Richard Branson Virgin
Virgin Atlantic President Sir Richard Branson. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Virgin Atlantic President, Sir Richard said: "This is an exciting day in Virgin Atlantic history. It signals the start of a new era of expansion, financial growth and many opportunities for our customers and our business.

"I truly look forward to the possibilities our partnership with Delta will offer. We have always been known for our innovation and service and have punched above our weight for 28 years.

"That is why our customers love us so much. We will retain that independent spirit but move forward in a strengthened partnership with Delta.”

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Virgin flights 'will boost Scotland's aviation industry'

Scotland's Transport Minister Keith Brown said it was a welcome announcement for both passengers and the air industry.

Scotland's Transport Minister Keith Brown Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Archive

He said: "We look forward to a long and productive relationship with Virgin Atlantic and the exciting connections they can offer with all the benefits that will bring for passengers, Scotland's aviation industry and the wider Scottish economy.

"The detail will be worked out over the next couple of weeks but we are pleased that the European Commission has taken note of the need for both Edinburgh and Aberdeen to be served and that Virgin Atlantic will now be able to operate from two of Scotland's most important cities."

The minister said he remained concerned about the lack of competition on the Glasgow to Heathrow service as a consequence of Bmi's withdrawal of the service last year.

Glasgow was not part of the remedies package considered by the European Commission.

Virgin domestic flights 'will provide Scotland with choice'

We're focused on providing Scotland with choice both in terms of routes and carriers whilst extending its reach across the world.

This new regular service does exactly that, giving choice to Heathrow and opening up a new set of onward destinations for our passengers.

We look forward to working with Steve Ridgway and his team over the coming months.

– Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar

Virgin Atlantic 'has fought hard for right to fly short haul'

We have fought hard for the right to fly short haul and take a strong challenge to BA within these shores.

For 28 years both airlines have battled for customers all over the world and it has meant that British consumers have ultimately had some of the world's best flying and lowest fares.

– Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway
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