Keith Lemon and Alexandra Burke joined Sir Richard Branson recently for a Mexican-style celebration to mark the launch of two new weekly Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick to Cancun.
At a media event in Cancun, Branson did a “wing walk” along a Virgin Atlantic jet with X Factor winner Alexandra Burke while a mariachi band added plenty of Mexican musical flavour to the party atmosphere.
Mexico’s Riviera Maya is one of the top timeshare destinations for American visitors and it is popular with British holidaymakers too, so the new routes will be good news for Europeans who feel like using their timeshare points to escape the long northern European winter. Cancun is famous for its spectacular beaches, natural ecology, sacred Mayan monuments and water sports, golf, spa and adventure holidays. It also has an amazing underwater Sculpture Park.
The flights to Cancun are already in operation and Virgin says it expects to fly around 94,000 customers to Mexico in the first year on the new route.
Sir Richard Branson said: ‘Many customers have asked us to fly direct to this exciting destination over the years. With its superb beaches, great hotels and cultural sites, tourism in Cancun is thriving.’
Cancun brings the total number of Virgin Atlantic destinations up to 33 in total. But Branson has even more to celebrate because this year marks 25 years since Virgin launched its popular London-Miami route, a major milestone in the Virgin Atlantic story.
The planes servicing the new Cancun route will feature 379 economy, 58 premium economy and 14 ‘Upper Class’ seats and Virgin has been pulling out all the stops with a £50 million makeover of its jumbo jets.
Edmond Rose, Virgin’s director of commercial and revenue planning said: “Cancun is a big-volume market and a very attractive destination. We need to operate to the places UK passengers want to go – it is one of the top five long-haul leisure destinations from the UK.”
At a press conference the morning after the media event in Cancun, Branson also confirmed that Virgin Atlantic will launch a new route to Russia next year. The London Heathrow – Moscow flights will operate daily. Virgin Alantic’s plan to fly into Moscow is not new, in fact Branson has apparently been wanting to launch it since 1998 when Virgin Atlantic was given the right to fly to the city from the UK. But it was not to be. Competitor Bmi appealed against the decision which was overturned.
After the media conference, it was time for some beach “Olympics”, involving tequila shots, jet-ski races and girls in bikinis. Just another sunny day on the Mexican Riviera…