The Guardian newspaper published a report this morning which has since been removed, the page now says "This article has been taken down as it breached an embargo." The report said that Virgin Atlantic would launch a London to Manchester service from March 2013.
Google's cache captured this text:
"Steve Ridgeway, Virgin Atlantic chief executive, said 'Flying between Heathrow and Manchester is just the start for Virgin Atlantic's short haul operation. 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 omnipresent BA, keep fares low and give consumers a genuine choice of airline to Heathrow and beyond.' The Virgin Group has a track record as a domestic operator through the Virgin America and Virgin Australia businesses.
The Manchester move has been planned for some time and is not linked to last week's decision by the government to strip Virgin Trains of the west coast mainline...
Virgin Atlantic's Manchester route will give the airline an embryonic resemblance to BA, which uses its Heathrow short haul destinations, such as Glasgow and Edinburgh, to feed passengers into long haul destinations such as New York and Moscow. Virgin Atlantic will hope to lure some of the 650,000 passengers who fly between London and Manchester each year onto its service and then on to its network.
The airline said that more than six out of ten London-bound passengers from Manchester connect to other destinations, many of them served by Virgin Atlantic. The airline said it had leased Airbus 319 jets for the route."
However, since then, the Manchester Evening News has published this report which suggests that the European Commission has ruled that IAG does not have to give up Heathrow to Manchester slots because the route has sufficient competition from the railway. Virgin's view that most air traffic between the two cities is transfer passengers will form the basis of a challenge to the EU's decision.