Virgin Atlantic put aside rivalries and joined forces with British Airways to take off together to commemorate the return of US passengers to UK after over 600 days

Virgin Atlantic and British Airways will be able to put aside their old rivalries for tomorrow’s joint take-off. This is to commemorate the return of US passengers to the UK after 600 days. 

Virgin and BA will sync their Heathrow flights to New York’s JFK at 8.30am. The two airlines will be taxiing side-by to simultaneously take off from the North and South runways. 

American dream: After 600 days, Britons can fly to the United States again

American dream: Brits can again fly to the United States after 600 days

Dual take-offs are a rare show of unity between rivals. In 2012, Branson and then BA boss Willie Walsh famously struck a £1million bet over whether Virgin Atlantic would still be in business under Branson’s control in five years’ time. 

The pandemic left Virgin Atlantic fighting for survival and BA’s owner IAG last week said it will make a €3 billion loss this year. But the airlines are banking on the trans-Atlantic routes, closed to UK nationals since March last year, returning them to profit by next summer. 

Sources said BA’s flight BA001 – Concorde’s former New York flight number – would be ‘celebratory’, carrying customers and crew who haven’t seen their families for almost two years.

Virgin Atlantic’s twelve flights tomorrow from Heathrow or Manchester to the USA are all booked. Shai Weiss is the chief executive. He stated that the US has been Virgin’s heartland since 1984, when we flew to New York City. The Atlantic is what makes us Virgin. Luis Gallego of IAG’s chief executive stated it would mark a “pivotal moment”.