Virgin Atlantic said on Wednesday it is hoping to add over 80 new routes to its network after a third runway is built at London’s Heathrow Airport to challenge the dominance of British Airways owner IAG at the airport.
Heathrow’s expansion is scheduled for completion in 2026 after lawmakers voted strongly in favour of the third runway last year, although environmentalists and local groups are challenging the plans in court.
Virgin Atlantic said it could serve up to 84 new locations from the expanded airport compared to its current 19.
The plans would depend on Britain changing how it allocates slots to airlines. Currently Heathrow is dominated by IAG but rules governing the allocation of slots are under review by the government.
IAG holds more than 55% of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow, with no other airline holding more than 5% of the others, Virgin Atlantic says.
Virgin Atlantic, part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, currently operates long-haul routes to destinations such as New York, San Francisco, Johannesburg and Hong Kong.
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