Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss onstage at APEX EXPO 2019

Virgin Atlantic’s CEO, Shai Weiss. Image: Roger Williams

Although Virgin Atlantic is introducing a fleet of Airbus A350s with an inaugural flight from London Heathrow to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, and has long-term ambitions to double in size to become the second flag carrier of the UK, what its CEO Shai Weiss really wanted to talk about yesterday morning was love.

Currently in year one of a high-flying three-year strategy called Velocity, Weiss said the carrier is now focusing on transforming its passenger experience by focusing on that warm and fuzzy feeling.

“We can talk about planes and biometrics, but if you look at our customer satisfaction scores […] it’s all about heart. The thing that really differentiates us is our special touch,” said Weiss.

“We can talk about planes and biometrics, but if you look at our customer satisfaction scores […] it’s all about heart. The thing that really differentiates us is our special touch” – Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic.

Noting that the culture and ecosystem of a company is something you simply can’t fake – especially in today’s increasingly tech-savvy world – Weiss said he hopes to leverage Virgin Atlantic’s classic reputation as a sexy and savvy carrier in the skies into something even grander by infusing that philosophy with warmth.

“We’re transforming where we are going … removing the seams and using data and insights to get to an understanding of our customers throughout their journey,” said Weiss.

At the end of the day, Virgin Atlantic is all about energy, noted Weiss, adding that harnessing that positive energy, through a continued focus on diversity, sustainability and above all else, love, is crucial in differentiating itself moving forward.