Most Outstanding International Airline of The Year Virgin Atlantic

Nick J Parker Head of India & Middle-East, Virgin Atlantic

How do you feel about your airline being awarded with ‘Most Outstanding International Airline of the Year’ award at TnH’s Travel & Hospitality Awards 2014? What does winning this award mean to you?
It is truly an honor to be selected by TnH as the most ‘Most Outstanding International Airline of the Year’. Thank you to all those who voted for us, we’re thrilled to bits. Fourteen years after we first flew from India, we’re still pioneering and offering travellers the best possible experience in the air. Innovation and forward thinking are such an integral part of what we do and how we live to our brand promise.

What factors make your airline as the ‘Most Outstanding International Airline of the Year’?
Although Virgin Atlantic is a global brand, we consider ourselves to have local relevance. Our unique product and premium service are at the core of our brand – as well as our passion for innovating. This year is our 15th year of flying to New Delhi and it remains a key business, leisure and VFR route and continues to be popular with our customers. We aim to continue to grow our market share and offer our customers a unique on- board experience. We started last year with formalizing our Delta joint venture, opening a breadth of connectivity for the Indian market on the transatlantic route. We also announced £300m investment in customer experience, a sizeable chunk of which will be in our cabins, seats and food & beverage. Our strategy is about offering an innovative way to travel, bringing fun and glamour back that only we can offer at no extra cost. Our cabins, our crew and our service are our biggest differentiators.

What do your customers value most about your airline? What is your mantra of service excellence?
Customer service is our priority and we approach it with our own ‘Virgin flair’ and that is one of the reasons why our passengers choose to fly with us. We give our customers a vibrant and a dynamic travel experience that allows them to relax earlier and arrive feeling fresh. It all attributes to how we make them feel and how we enable them to achieve what they want. It is about the whole package, not about product and services in isolation.

What is the long-term vision of your airline?
The success of our business strategy requires us to build on our foundations by focusing on the business and leisure markets, and driving efficiency and effectiveness. India is a strategically important pillar at the heart of Virgin Atlantic’s rest of world network and we remain committed to it. We’re investing a great deal into our customer experience (£300 million over the next four years) and those travelling with us will see lots of innovations and investments in the coming year and beyond. In April, we will be opening a Clubhouse in Los Angeles for the first time. We took delivery of our first Boeing 787-9 in October last year. Our second Dreamliner was welcomed into the Virgin Atlantic fleet on the 2nd of January and has now started flying to Washington DC. This is just the start of us moving towards having a younger and more fuel-efficient fleet as throughout 2015 we will be getting seven more 787s, which will eventually total 21 by 2018. In April 2015, we will be welcoming the brand new Dreamliner 787-9 to India which will start flying daily to London Heathrow from New Delhi. The 787 is not just more environmentally friendly, it is also our best aircraft for customer experience. As well as moving towards a younger fleet, we will be investing in our existing aircraft – driving enhancements in food and wine services as well as being the first UK airline to roll out WiFi across our entire fleet. This means that no matter where our customers fly, they will have the best possible experience on Virgin Atlantic.

What advice would you like to give to young aviation professionals who desire success in this industry?
India has huge potential in the aviation sector apart from the other opportunities. In this industry, experience and knowledge along with the passion to keep the customer at the heart of everything is considered hallmark of a great career.

“It is truly an honor to be selected by TnH as the most ‘Most Outstanding International Airline of the Year’. Thank you to all those who voted for us, we’re thrilled to bits. Fourteen years after we first flew from India, we’re still pioneering and offering travellers the best possible experience in the air. Innovation and forward thinking are such an integral part of what we do and how we live to our brand promise.”

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