For the second time, a Virgin airline cuts Toronto out of its list of destinations

For the second time, a Virgin airline cuts Toronto out of its list of destinations

Toronto to lose its Virginity in April (Image: BriYYZ) 

Back in April, we were so hopeful about Virgin America’s new flights to San Francisco and L.A. That hope proved wasted last Friday when the airline announced that both services will end on April 6, 2011. The company chose Toronto as the airline’s first international destination last year, beginning service on June 23. Executive chief of Virgin America David Cush told the Star that Virgin intended to corner Toronto’s west coast–headed business market, citing our city as a leading centre in entertainment, technology and finance. The airline even hyped its Toronto launch by naming an Airbus A320 after rapper Drake and throwing a—we kid you not—party in the sky hosted by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and attended by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This is the second time that a Virgin airline has pulled out of Pearson: the first was an ill-fated link between here and Heathrow operated by sister company Virgin Atlantic. So why is Virgin America leaving YYZ now? According a company press release, “The airline has decided to indefinitely suspend its YYZ service and instead immediately move capacity into other existing and more lucrative markets from the West Coast.” Vice-president of planning and sales Diana Walk says the company hopes  “to return to YYZ at some point, but in the smaller Toronto–west coast markets, we were not able to stimulate demand as quickly as we would have liked… We would like to thank the Toronto airport and community for supporting us.”

But not supporting them enough, apparently.