By Daniel Hunter

Virgin Atlantic have announced plans to commence a short-haul flight service between London's Heathrow airport and Manchester.

The service, which will start next March, is Virgin's first foray into the UK domestic market and will provide competition for British Airways.

“Flying between Heathrow and Manchester is just the start for Virgin Atlantic’s new short haul operation," Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive, Steve Ridgway said.

"We have the means to connect thousands of passengers to our long haul network as well as to destinations served by other carriers. Our new service will provide strong competition to overly-dominant BA; keep fares low and give consumers a genuine choice of airline to fly to Heathrow and beyond.”

Virgin said that the service will also provide a regional link for passengers using its long-haul services from Heathrow, it says.

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