• The airline will resume daily services between London Heathrow and Shanghai, China from 1 May for both passenger and cargo operations
  • Shanghai passenger services were originally suspended on 1 February 2020 due to the global pandemic, resuming temporarily before a further suspension on 23 December 2020, when the last flights operated. The restart marks the post-Covid return of all of Virgin Atlantic’s routes, with Shanghai the final to be re-instated
  • Fares start from £432 return per person


Virgin Atlantic is restarting 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 1 May 2023, with fares starting from £432 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 23 December 2020. Shanghai is Virgin Atlantic’s final route to be re-instated following the global pandemic, having been impacted by suspensions and closures since 1 February 2020.


Following the restart announcement earlier this year, there has been strong demand for both business and leisure travel in both directions. China remains a key trading partner to the UK, and as the country’s largest city, the relaunched route will be an important connector for the UK and China. Shanghai has a world renowned commercial and financial centre with one of the world’s largest cargo hubs. 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. 


Virgin Atlantic’s Shanghai flights will continue to 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 restart of our services to Shanghai is a major milestone for Virgin Atlantic. Shanghai was the first of our routes to be suspended in 2020 at the start of the global pandemic and the last to return, making it the final piece to restore our flying programme to full capacity. 


“After such a long hiatus, we’re looking forward to welcoming our customers back to Shanghai and providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services.”


The return to China will complement the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s global route network which includes the USA & Caribbean, South Africa, Nigeria and India. The airline’s Tel Aviv service has doubled capacity this summer, operating a double daily service.  New routes to the Maldives and Turks and Caicos will also commence later this year.


Customers travelling to China will need to show proof of a negative PCR test before they enter the country, alongside a health declaration form. Customers should check https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china for the latest travel advice and visa requirements. 

For further information please contact the Virgin Atlantic Press Office on press.office@fly-virgin.com 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 joined global airline alliance SkyTeam on 02 March 2023.  It is SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, opening up a global network of airlines for customers to earn and redeem points.  The airline’s Flying Club members can now utilise a raft of new benefits through SkyPriority services.

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.