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Virgin Atlantic suspends its route from London to Austin because it says the city's tech boom is over

Virgin Atlantic
A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner on its final approach in London.Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Virgin Atlantic said on Friday that it would end its route between Austin and London in January.

  • Virgin Atlantic cited "persistent softening in corporate demand, specifically the tech sector."

  • The airline's route commenced in May 2022, fueled by major tech growth in the Texas city.

Over the past decade, Austin's national reputation has become increasingly tied to the tech sector, with companies lured by its highly educated workforce and Texas-sized tax incentives.

But in a major decision, Virgin Atlantic on Friday announced that it would end its nonstop route from Austin to London less than two years after first offering the flights.

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Virgin Atlantic said it would suspend services between Heathrow Airport in London and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, a route that the airline commenced in May 2022 but now says will end on January 7 due to "persistent softening in corporate demand, specifically the tech sector."

"We've adored flying our customers to Austin and experiencing this wonderful city of music and culture, but demand in the tech sector is not set to improve in the near term, with corporate demand at 70% of 2019 levels," Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Juha Järvinen said in a statement. "Therefore, sadly, we made the tough decision to withdraw services."

Such a statement is a reflection of significant changes in Austin, which just two years ago had arguably the buzziest commercial real estate market in the United States.

Earlier this month, The Washington Post detailed how the ongoing skyscraper boom in Austin is reshaping the city. The report also noted the looming issue of vacancies in the lion's share of the new commercial real estate projects under construction.

Virgin Atlantic's change of heart would seemingly be in line with some of the economic forces that have shifted in Texas' capital city.

When Virgin Atlantic launched its nonstop London route, it offered four flights from Austin each week.

Austin airport officials, in a statement, thanked Virgin Atlantic and indicated that they hoped to see the airline return in the future.

"AUS is grateful to the incredible Virgin Atlantic team for launching this ambitious route," the statement read. "We hope to welcome them back one day."

Virgin Atlantic may be axing its London route from Austin, but British Airways remains, connecting the two cities with nonstop flights.

With the Austin route coming to a close, Virgin Atlantic announced that it would beef up its service between London and Miami for the summer 2024 season, increasing the number of flights between the two cities from 11 to 14.

Read the original article on Business Insider