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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Virgin Atlantic pulls out of the UAE with cancellation of London to Dubai route

The carrier, known for its cheap fares, follows Royal Brunei Airlines in cancelling its London Heathrow to Dubai route

Virgin Atlantic will no longer fly between London Heathrow and Dubai. Bloomberg
Virgin Atlantic will no longer fly between London Heathrow and Dubai. Bloomberg

Virgin Atlantic has announced it will cease flights between Dubai and London Heathrow after 12 years of operating the route.

In a statement, the airline said that "after a thorough review of its network" it had made the decision to stop flying to Dubai "due to a combination of external factors which mean it is no longer economically viable".

The London Heathrow to Dubai service is Virgin Atlantic's only route into the UAE, and runs daily throughout the year. The flights will cease from March 31, 2019.

Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Shai Weiss said: “It‘s never an easy decision to withdraw a route, and we’d like to thank our customers and dedicated team in Dubai for their loyalty over the last 12 years. We’ll continue to offer daily flights between Dubai and London Heathrow until March 31, 2019, and will be sad to say goodbye to this fantastic city.”

The airline will continue to operate its daily flights between Dubai and London until March 31 next year as planned, and new bookings would still be available until the last flight. Virgin Holidays will also continue to provide holiday packages to the emirate.

In late May, Royal Brunei Airlines announced it would also cease its service between London Heathrow and Dubai, after launching a shorter, direct flight from its Brunei hub to the UK capital. Previously, the carrier flew from Brunei to London, via Dubai.

From October 28, the carrier will operate daily non-stop flights between Brunei and London, which shaves off three-and-a-half hours from the round-trip travel time. It will then operate flights between Brunei and Dubai four times a week.

The airline has been operating its daily flight to London, via Dubai, since 2004. "The through flight via Dubai has served us well – however, with the demand for more direct routing from our guests, it becomes an important commercial imperative to provide that," a statement from the airline said.

Emirates now flies to all three major London airports, after a new daily route to London Stansted launched earlier this month.

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