VIRGIN Atlantic (VS) will up its current daily service between Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and London Heathrow to a double-daily service from October 28. This will make Johannesburg the first city outside of the UK and US to get double-daily VS flights.

Liezl Gericke, Head of Middle East and Africa of Virgin Atlantic, told Tourism Update that the decision to launch a double-daily service on the Johannesburg route was due to an upsurge in both inbound and outbound demand. She says the airline is hugely excited and very proud to be launching this service.

“We are entering a period of significant change and development in South Africa, a time flush with opportunity,” she says. “This new service is proof of our commitment to supporting the country’s ambitious tourism and trade agenda, whilst supporting our local partners to flourish in this period of growth. With an additional 188 000 seats annually between Johannesburg and London, we are contributing to the 9% annual growth the air travel market expects to see in the first quarter.”

The outbound flight will depart London at 16h45 and arrive in Johannesburg at 05h40. The inbound flight will depart Johannesburg at 22h20 and arrive in London at 07h30. Gericke says the route has been timed to enable easy connections to flights with Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines to over 200 US destinations, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The second daily flight will also be operated by a 258-seat Boeing 787-9 with 31 seats in business class, 35 in premium economy, 36 in economy delight and 156 in economy. Tickets will go on sale on March 24.