Virgin Atlantic and British Airways to race to New York with side-by-side, simultaneous take-off

The event will be broadcast live on television.
The event will be broadcast live on television. Photo credit: Airbus

Two of the biggest rivals in the aviation industry will put competition aside on Monday night (NZ time) to celebrate the first commercial passenger flights from the UK to the US in over 600 days.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic planes will line up side-by-side on parallel runways at London’s Heathrow Airport and perform what is likely to be a spectacular simultaneous take-off as their first flights depart for New York.

One aviation commentator described the coming together of the two rivals as "similar to when the English and the Germans played a game of football on Christmas Day during World War I".

Both airlines will be operating state-of-the-art ultra-modern Airbus A350 aircraft and take off at 8:20am (London time), an event which will be broadcast live on British television.

And, to make sure the flight remains a show of solidarity, there will be no race taking place across the Atlantic between the two airlines. The aircraft will attempt a simultaneous landing at New York's JFK Airport upon arrival at approximately 11:15am (New York time)

British Airways will use the historic Concorde callsign for the occasion, BA1. 

Video of the historic display will be available on Newshub Travel on Tuesday morning.