• Flights from London Heathrow to Shanghai, China to return for the first time since 23 December 2020 following the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Airline will resume daily services from 01 May for both passenger and cargo operations, marking the date when all of Virgin Atlantic’s routes will be operating once again
  • Fares start from £669 per person

Virgin Atlantic is to restart its much-anticipated flights to Shanghai, re-establishing essential business and leisure connections between the United Kingdom and China.  The daily service will resume on 01 May 2023, with fares starting from £669 per person. 

The move comes following a relaxation in travel restrictions between the two countries, which sees the borders reopening to foreign nationals for the first time since 2020.  Shanghai is Virgin Atlantic’s final route to be re-instated following the global pandemic, having been closed for a total of 859 days at the point of its relaunch.

China remains one of the most important trading partners to the UK and as the country’s largest city, Shanghai is a world renowned commercial and financial hub.  Moreover, the eclectic destination offers UK tourists a melting pot of culture, from Pudong district’s futuristic skyline, the Bund’s famous waterfront walkways to the traditional pavilions in Yu Gardens.

As it did prior to the pandemic, Virgin Atlantic’s Shanghai flights will operate on a Boeing 787-9.  Customers can enjoy a selection of experiences across three cabins; Upper Class, Premium alongside the airline’s three classes of Economy, Delight, Classic and Light.  

Shanghai is also a hub to the airline’s new SkyTeam partner, China Eastern.  Offering a wide range of connections throughout China and beyond, Virgin Atlantic customers will be able to seamlessly connect to onward services.  Flying Club members will soon have the opportunity to earn and redeem Virgin Points across China Eastern’s flying programme, alongside many other SkyTeam partners*. 

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented;

“The return of our Shanghai services has been a long-time coming and I’m delighted it’s finally a reality. We’re looking forward to welcoming our customers back on board and providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services. 

“Shanghai is the final route to return following the global pandemic, restoring our flying programme to full capacity.  Our focus for 2023 is on delivery, as we look forward to launching routes to new destinations, welcoming brand new clean, green aircraft and getting back to our best for our customers and people.”

The return to China will complement the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s global route network which includes the USA & Caribbean, South Africa, India and Pakistan.  The airline’s Tel Aviv service is set to double capacity this summer, operating a double daily service which has been a firm favourite with business and leisure travellers alike.  New routes to the Maldives and Turks and Caicos will also commence later this year.

Customers travelling to China do not need to show proof of vaccination, however each passenger will need to show proof of a negative PCR test before they enter the country, alongside a health declaration form. Passengers arriving from China into the UK must take a negative PCR or lateral flow test. Customers should check https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china for the latest travel advice.

*Virgin Atlantic is on track to join SkyTeam in the next few weeks.


For further information please contact the Virgin Atlantic Press Office on press.office@fly.virgin.come or call 01293 747 373.  

About Virgin Atlantic       

Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson in 1984, with innovation and amazing customer service at its core. In 2022, Virgin Atlantic was voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX for the sixth year running in the Official Airline Ratings. Headquartered in London, it employs over 7,500 people worldwide, flying customers to 28 destinations across four continents. Virgin Atlantic recently continued its expansion in the US, announcing a new route to Tampa from November 2022, following the launch of flights to Austin in May 2022.     

  Alongside shareholder and Joint Venture partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic operates a leading transatlantic network, with onward connections to over 200 cities around the world. On 3 February 2020, Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic launched an expanded Joint Venture, offering a comprehensive route network, convenient flight schedules, competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, including the ability to earn and redeem miles across all carriers.  Virgin Atlantic is also set to join the global airline alliance SkyTeam in 2023. Virgin Atlantic will become SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, enhancing the alliance’s transatlantic network and services to and from Heathrow and Manchester Airport.    

  Sustainability remains central to the airline, which is committed to achieving net zero by 2050. To meet this goal, Virgin Atlantic welcomed the first of 16 A330-900neos in October 2022. The A330-900neos are equipped with the most fuel-efficient engines and designed to be 11% more fuel and carbon efficient than the A330-300s that they replace and deliver a 50% reduction in airport noise contour. These investments reaffirm the airline’s dedication to flying one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets in the skies, resulting in the reduction of carbon emissions by 20%, increasing to 30% in 2027.     

  For more information visit www.virginatlantic.com or via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @virginatlantic.