May I pose a question?
As BGI and others have pointed out, Virgin Atlantic has brought forward its change of aircraft from B747's to A330's which started the first week of May, on all days but Thursdays. Effectively it will reduce seating capacity on the Gatwick route by up to 189 seats each DAY (except Thursday) or nearly 40,000 by the end of December this year. This represents roughly one in four available seats from the London.
Costs of operating the B747's appear to be a major factor, but also it has been pointed out that this will increase the Upper Class seats from 14 to 36 each day for six days per week.
While Virgin Holidays have declined to issue actual numbers, they still are the largest British Tour Operator into Barbados and it would not be unreasonable to estimate that around 50 per cent of the 'lost' seats could be filled by them. This may result in a dramatic negative effect of our hotels with greatly reduced occupied room revenue.
No one can question that Virgin are taking care of business and have to operate at a profit, but has this really been thought through. Also so close after the BTA announced that they were going to spend 11 per cent of the annual budget on the Barbados Island Inclusive programme to drive an 'additional' 15,000 long stay visitors and that Virgin had previous had announced that the aircraft change would take place in October rather than May.
The purpose of this post is to garner your thoughts and observations, not to criticise any particular vested interest.