Virgin Atlantic Airways plans to launch twice-weekly nonstop flights from Manchester in the UK to Las Vegas on April 3, 2011.

Virgin Atlantic Airways plans to launch twice-weekly nonstop flights from Manchester in the UK to Las Vegas on April 3, 2011.

The service will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, Virgin Atlantic using Boeing 747-400s for the flights. The route will be Virgin Atlantic’s 33rd from the UK and the carrier’s third from Manchester.

“The decision to expand our Manchester flying program underlines Virgin Atlantic’s commitment to flying to long-haul destinations from regional airports in the UK and these Manchester flights will be a great addition to our current services,” says Steve Ridgway, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic Airways.

“This is a welcome addition to their services to Barbados and Orlando and we’re pleased to see another major airline expanding out of Manchester this week,” says Andrew Cornish, managing director of Manchester Airport. “Virgin Atlantic is a key partner and for them to reaffirm their commitment in a testing marketplace is a testament to the strength of the marketplace at Manchester.”

Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 747-400 G-VWOW (named 'Cosmic Girl') lands at London Heathrow Airport

The additional flights from Manchester Airport (MAN), starting in April 2011, will allow Virgin Atlantic to operate nine flights a week from the UK to the popular and growing U.S. leisure destination, famous for its casinos and shows.  Since Virgin Atlantic launched flights to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) from Gatwick in June 2000, it has carried almost 2 million passengers on the route, which now operates daily from Gatwick.

“This is another evolution in a partnership that has flourished since its inception a decade ago.  Virgin Atlantic’s new service into Las Vegas from Manchester is indicative of its long-term confidence in the Las Vegas brand and will provide even more British travelers the accessibility to visit the entertainment capital of the world,” says Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Both the existing service and the new Manchester-Las Vegas route will be operated by Boeing 747-400s fitted with 14 Upper Class Suites, 58 Premium Economy seats and 379 Economy seats.  The Upper Class Suite consists of a reclining seat for take-off, a place to sit and eat a three-course meal opposite a partner, and a private onboard bar to share a drink with friends.

Virgin Atlantic offers a service product for Premium Economy passengers that includes dedicated check-in and priority boarding.  Virgin Atlantic’s Economy class continues to offer passengers added extras such as seat-back televisions for all passengers, offering video on demand.

Virgin Atlantic also operates services from Manchester Airport to Orlando and Barbados.  In 2009, Virgin Atlantic carried nearly half a million passengers on its Manchester services.

Tickets from Virgin Atlantic’s Manchester-Las Vegas route are available to purchase from early May 2010 and customers should visit or call reservations on 1-800-862-8621 to book.