Virgin Atlantic will launch its first domestic service by flying passengers between London and Manchester, the firm revealed yesterday.
Virgin will operate three daily flights from London Heathrow to Manchester from March 31 next year.
Chief executive Steve Ridgway said the move was in response to the takeover of bmi by British Airways' parent company rather than Virgin Trains' loss of the rail service between the two cities.
Flights between Heathrow and the North West will begin next spring using an Airbus A319 aircraft.
Mr Ridgway said: 'Since bmi was swallowed up by British Airways, the competition that existed on domestic routes and European routes has disappeared. Virgin Atlantic has obviously
Mr Ridgway insisted that air travel was a 'different market' from rail services between Manchester and London.