Virgin Atlantic targets business traffic

Virgin Atlantic is preparing to fire the next salvo in the fierce battle for long-haul premium passengers.

In line with Virgin's irreverent brand values, a £500,000 press advertising blitz, breaking on February 13, takes an acerbic look at passengers who might not want to travel on its revamped Upper Class Suite.

The executions, by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, will be placed in 'opinion-former' titles such as The Sunday Times and The Economist. They portray prudish, backward-looking business people at their desks. The airline is also planning a series of stunts in the City of London.

Virgin Atlantic marketing director Alison Copus said: "The Upper Class Suite is now installed on the New York and San Francisco routes and will be rolled out to 16 routes by the end of the year. We see clear indications that business traffic is coming back."

The campaign follows the release of rival British Airways' third-quarter results on Monday, which showed that this lucrative segment of the airline market is picking up.

The results revealed a year-on-year jump in BA's operating profits for the quarter, from £53m to £138m.

At the start of this year, BA began a swathe of activity to promote its Club World cabins and announced renewed support for its First Class service (Marketing, January 22).

Virgin Atlantic chairman Sir Richard Branson told Marketing: "By charging the same as other airlines' business class for Upper Class Suite, it is attracting BA's former Concorde passengers."

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