By Edward Cardenas
ROMULUS (CBS Detroit) – Virgin Atlantic – the airline known for its stylish flight attendant uniforms and in-flight amenities that harken a more glamours time of travel – will begin flying out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport in 2015.
The airline announced Wednesday that it will offer new daily service between Metro Airport and London Heathrow as part of Virgin’s expansion transatlantic flights in the summer of 2015.
“Transatlantic flying has always been at the heart of our network and our most financially successful region,” Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Craig Kreeger said in a release. “Today’s announcement allows us to play to our strengths and focus our network on routes between the UK and US, as well as other critical global destinations that are most important to our customers.”
Virgin is taking over the summer-only service Delta Air Lines currently operates and will be extending it to a year-round service, according to the company.
“This is a major step for Detroit and our airport,” said Thomas Naughton, CEO of Wayne County Airport Authority, said in a release. “Gaining more international service through more international airlines is one of the airport’s top priorities and Europe is our largest overseas market.”
The new flight comes less than two years after Delta invested $360 million in Virgin Atlantic, acquiring 49 per cent stake in the airline previously held by Singapore Airlines.
“We have routinely met with the U.K. airlines since British Airways left Detroit in 2008 in order to persuade them that now is the right time to return to Detroit,” said Joe Cambron, Director of Air Service Development for Detroit Metro, in a release. “I think Detroit’s resurgence coupled with the impending move of the FIAT World Headquarters to London and Virgin’s new alliance with Delta allowed the stars to align for our community.”
With the service to Detroit, through the partnership with Delta, travelers from London will be able to connect to domestic routes serviced by the carrier from its hub.
The announcement comes one day before one day before Alaska Airlines becomes Metro’s newest airline with its flights to Seattle, Washington. The flights begin Thursday afternoon.