Speculation about a major new carrier at Vancouver International Airport ended earlier this month when it was announced that Virgin Atlantic Airways would begin non-stop service between YVR and London Heathrow (LHR), operating four times a week from May to October.
Virgin’s Airbus A340-300 aircraft will add a much-needed 40,000 seats between YVR and LHR just in time for the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The same great service that Virgin is known for will be available with 34 upper class suites, 35 premium economy seats and 171 economy seats. Seats will go on sale December 1, 2011.
In addition to supporting the Virgin Atlantic announcement, the Airport Authority also took part in a trade mission earlier this month alongside the Government of British Columbia. During this trade mission, the Airport Authority and Sichuan Airlines signed a letter of intent to launch three flights a week beginning in 2012.
The Chengdu-Shenyang-Vancouver service will be the airline’s first North American route and will provide an important trade and tourism link between B.C. and China. Approval from Transport Canada must be given before the route can be officially announced.
In addition to greater options for travellers, new routes and carriers contribute substantially to B.C.’s economy. Every new daily international long-haul flight generates between $5 million and $8 million in wages and contributes between $8 million and $15 million to the province’s gross domestic product annually.
For more information about Virgin Atlantic Airways and Sichuan Airlines, visit their websites.