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Virgin Atlantic (re)launching flights to Toronto in 2025

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For the first time in over a decade, Virgin Atlantic will operate to Canada. Flights to Toronto launch on 30th March 2025.

Richard Branson joked that this was “third time lucky” for the airline which celebrated its 40th anniversary with a party in Las Vegas last night.

But according to Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, “this time is different.”

Virgin Atlantic returns to Toronto

“We had Toronto, which was launched just pre-9/11 which was not a really good time to do so. But the difference with Toronto this time is that our Indian network is so strong that it can provide connectivity for Indian nationals. Toronto happens to be the eighth largest centre for Indian diaspora in the world. So it makes a lot of sense.”

India has become a huge market for Virgin Atlantic since it re-launched flights to the country in 2019. From late October, when Virgin adds a second daily flight to Mumbai (in addition to flights to Bengaluru and Delhi) it will offer over a million seats to the country per year.

Virgin Atlantic will face competition, and not just from the usual suspects. Air Canada already operates flights to Mumbai via London and will switch to Delhi this winter.

That didn’t faze Chief Commercial Officer Juha Jarvinen, who said “There’s plenty of competition on the route, but there’s also plenty of people travelling. There’s 1.5 million people travelling between London and Toronto every year.”

To underpin the new route, Virgin Atlantic is also launching a codeshare arrangement with Canadian airline WestJet in October 2024. This will allow Virgin to sell connections via Toronto to other Canadian cities including Calgary, Ottawa and Winnipeg. Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits will follow “in 2025”.

The route will also get support from being included in the Delta / Air France / KLM transatlantic joint venture agreement, which effectively shares the financial risk – and rewards – across the partners.

When will Virgin Atlantic’s Toronto flights operate?

Virgin Atlantic’s new Toronto service will operate daily, with a relatively late departure from Heathrow. The good news is that this means the Clubhouse lounge will be less busy than during the morning rush of flights to North America.

  • VS147 departs Heathrow at 17:10 and arrives in Toronto Pearson Airport at 20:30 the same day
  • VS148 departs Toronto at 22:20 and lands into Heathrow at 10:30 the following morning

The flights will be operated by a mixture of aircraft including Virgin’s latest fleet addition, the A330neo.

Tickets go on sale a week on Wednesday, on 19th June. This is for both cash and points redemptions.

As a reminder, on every flight Virgin Atlantic guarantees to opens up for Virgin Points on the first day of booking:

  • 2 x Upper Class seats
  • 2 x Premium Economy seats
  • 8 x Economy seats

…. although additional seats are likely to be added later.

With reservations available up to 331 days in advance, this should mean that bookings will open up on 19th June for flights from 30th March until mid-May 2025. Be ready to book if you fancy Easter 2025 in Canada.

Tickets go on sale on the Virgin Atlantic website on 19th June.

Comments (48)

  • bernard says:

    Nice to see some good great news – so nice to have a choice in premium cabins instead of the BA/Air Canada duopoly on the route. A shame Toronto is such a dull city.

    • Dave says:

      As in just another North American city ‘dull’ or?

    • acewoking says:

      So dull, we spent a happy 12 days of Easter school holiday there, including viewing the eclipse. Our 4th visit, and can’t wait to go back. So many great neighbourhoods to visit, and shopping par excellence.

    • HampshireHog says:

      Agreed it’s dull but handy for a day trip to niagara

  • ADS says:

    surely the profit for Virgin flying pax YYZ-LHR-India will be a fraction of what they can make selling separate YYZ-LHR and LHR-India tickets?

    • Rob says:

      On paper, yes, but in reality competition is so strong on both legs on their own that having the ability to offer the connection gives them access to a broader market. At the moment BA and Air Canada get all the India to Canada traffic that goes via the UK.

      Of course, once we start forcing transfer passengers to get a Visa (coming soon) a lot of this business will disappear to Frankfurt, Paris etc.

      • Bernard says:

        Let’s see whether a more realistic and focused new government on 5/7 changes the visa nonsense for transfers. For the sake of U.K. aviation let’s hope so – once the present bunch of (proven) liars and the worst kind of clueless former Goldman bankers departs.

      • pigeon says:

        It’s literally going to be £10 for the electronic visa.

        Meanwhile will the EU mandate ETIAS for transfers? If so, that’s €7 so we’re talking about maybe £4 per person here.

        • dundj says:

          ETIAS won’t be required for transiting unless you are requiring a stopover or changing terminals whereby you have to go landside of the airport.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          It’s not the £ but rather the chance of being turned down so it’s just easier to go via somewhere else.

        • Rob says:

          It’s not about the money, it’s about not wanting the bother of applying if you can fly via another gateway instead.

          • HampshireHog says:

            Is the UK transit visa a done deal? If so the impact on BA could be immense

      • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

        An visa for an Indian passport holder is $CAD 100.

        A couple of quid for a UK transit isnt going to make any difference to most peoples travel plans.

        • HampshireHog says:

          It’s the hassle factor and the chance of being turned down after you’ve bought your ticket

        • Charles Martel says:

          Presumably lots of the traffic is Indians living in Canada visiting family, that said a £10 transit visa is trivial but also pointless unless going landside.

        • Rob says:

          When your travel agent tells you you can a) fly via London but you need to apply for a transit visa for your entire family or b) fly via Frankfurt for the same price with no paperwork, which one are people going to do?

      • John says:

        This comment prompted me to check on my OH – it turns out she needs a visa to transit airside under the current rules (never previously an issue as we used to be residents of the UK). So – thank you!
        Having gone through multiple UK visa processes for her previously (both as a visitor and a spouse), I’ll definitely be avoiding transiting via the UK as a result. Frankfurt, Zurich, Istanbul, UAE, etc. will be our go to, as I’ve yet to have a pleasant experience with the home office.

  • Sally B says:

    Interestingly Richard Branson also said a return to Gatwick could be a possibility as reported in the Sunday Times Magazine last Sunday.

    • Rob says:

      We don’t think he had bothered telling the airline before he mentioned it to the Times ….

  • P says:

    Vancouver next, please! 🙏

  • Russ says:

    Its about time Virgin went back to Toronto. Toronto is a very profitable route and a very busy one. It does not matter who you fly with AC/BA/AT/WJ the planes are always full. But no one could beat Wardair when they were around. If a airline wants to have cheaper costs they should fly out of Hamiliton I dont know why Virgin did not choose that you can get into downtown just as quick

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