Virgin Atlantic looks to the future with Airbus deal
UK-based airline Virgin Atlantic is to add 12 Airbus A350-1000s to its fleet.
Under deals disclosed at the Farnborough air show, the airline, which operates from London Heathrow and Gatwick airports, will receive the wide-body aircraft between 2019 and 2021.
The airline is purchasing eight A350-1000s for deliveries commencing in 2019, with an additional four on long-term lease from Air Lease and the option to lease a fifth. Deliveries of the leased aircraft will begin in 2020.
The planes will chiefly replace Virgin Atlantic’s aging Boeing 747 fleet, according to founder Richard Branson, with the order representing part of a fleet modernisation programme under that will see 50 per cent of its aircraft replaced over a six-year period.
The A350-1000 aircraft will initially be deployed at London Heathrow to strengthen the trans-Atlantic network on existing business routes, and subsequently at Gatwick airport on leisure routes to the Caribbean, where Virgin will provide three classes of customer service in the A350s distinctive Airbus ‘Airspace’ cabin with roomy overhead bins and the latest concepts for ambience, comfort, service and design.
David Cameron, the UK’s outgoing Prime Minister, said: “I welcome the news of Virgin Atlantic’s investment. As well as being good news for passengers, it’s great news for jobs in the UK. The fantastic Airbus A350 is built in the UK, with Rolls-Royce engines and suppliers across the country. It’s an investment in the UK itself, and our world-beating aerospace industry.”
Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO, said: “The size of this order demonstrates our absolute focus on investing in the future for our customers and our people, and confirms the strength of our business. The A350-1000 plays a pivotal role in our fleet programme, helping to create one of the youngest, cleanest, greenest fleets in the sky.
“We’re looking forward to introducing this aircraft to our customers, as its impressive economics, fuel performance, and quiet flying offer an irresistible proposition that makes long haul travel more enjoyable and better for the environment.”