UK-based Virgin Atlantic Airways has selected the A350-1000, the largest member of the A350 Family, to become the latest aircraft in its fleet, operating from both London Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
The airline is purchasing eight A350-1000s for deliveries commencing in 2019, and four new aircraft on long term leases from ALC from 2020, including a lease option for a fifth aircraft.
The A350-1000 was selected after intense and detailed evaluation of the current and future alternatives.
The airline will benefit from state-of-the-art technology and the latest cabin product innovations to satisfy the most exacting customer expectations.
Airport operations and neighbouring communities will benefit from the use of an environmentally efficient aircraft with low pollution credentials and half the noise impact compared to rival aircraft.
The aircraft will be deployed initially 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 Atlantic 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.
On his final day in the job, UK prime minister David Cameron 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.”
The world’s latest generation airliner, the A350 XWB, is the newest member of Airbus’ modern, comfortable and efficient widebody product family with 18” wide seating in economy.
Craig Kreeger, chief executive, Virgin Atlantic 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.”
Watch Virgin president Richard Branson talk about the latest deal: