AUSTIN (KXAN) — Virgin Atlantic announced Friday morning it plans to suspend its route that connects Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to London Heathrow early next year.
The British airline said in a release it plans to suspend services between London and Austin following a “persistent softening in corporate demand, specifically the tech sector.”
The last services to Austin will operate on January 7, 2024, and the airline will be in contact with affected customers due to fly after this date to provide options, which include offering a full refund, according to the release.
“We’ve adored flying our customers to Austin and experiencing this wonderful city of music and culture, but demand in the Tech sector is not set to improve in the near term, with corporate demand at 70% of 2019 levels,” said Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer for Virgin Atlantic. “Therefore, sadly we made the tough decision to withdraw services. We’d like to thank everyone in Austin; our customers, teams, partners and the authorities for their support over the past 18 months.”
The airline launched nonstop flights to London in May 2022 and has been in direct competition with British Airways since then. Virgin Atlantic was frequently seeing only about a third of the number of passengers that British Airways was flying to and from Austin.
In August, the most recently available numbers, Virgin Atlantic carried around 4,800 passengers to and from AUS, compared to British Airways’ more than 16,000.
“AUS is grateful to the incredible Virgin Atlantic team for launching this ambitious route,” a statement from airport officials said. “We hope to welcome them back one day.”
This is the second international route canceled by an airline at AUS in recent months. Spirit Airlines suspended its nonstop to Monterrey, Mexico, in September, citing low passenger demand.
Mexican low-cost airline Viva Aerobus announced it would launch its own AUS-Monterrey route in March 2024.