Virgin Atlantic today announced its intention to serve Moscow should it gain the 14 London Heathrow slot pairs that British Airways has to surrender as part of its takeover of bmi. The slots can be used for flights to Moscow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Cairo and Amman. Virgin Atlantic also claims that it will bid to operate Edinburgh and Aberdeen services, although Aer Lingus also intends to bid for these.

Whilst Moscow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen would be departures from Virgin Atlantic’s core longhaul strategy, it is a resource rich destination with high levels of premium traffic and an expanding new middle class who may be attracted to the Virgin brand. Operating UK Domestic services would be a dramatic departure from the airline’s core business.