UK long-haul specialist Virgin Atlantic has set up a new subsidiary to operate services to the Caribbean.

The new subsidiary, Virgin Atlantic International (VAI), has been granted an air operator’s certificate by the UK Civil Aviation Authority and is expected to begin operations by the end of December, using two of Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330-300s.

VAI will be used “to operate certain Caribbean services on Virgin Atlantic’s behalf,” Virgin Atlantic said in a brief statement. The new company will use the parent company’s pilots and cabin crew and there will be no discernible difference in the service compared to that of Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic declined to give further details of the new operation. “It’s not something we’re talking about,” spokeswoman Anna Catchpole said. “It’s commercially sensitive, so we can’t release the reasons behind [the new company]. It’s an internal thing.”

Virgin Atlantic has a substantial roster of Caribbean and West Indies destinations, including Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica and St Lucia.