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.
The United Kingdom 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."
Craig Kreeger, CEO 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."
“This agreement allows Virgin Atlantic to set the standard on its network by being amongst the first airlines into service with the A350-1000, with an Airspace by Airbus cabin, offering superior comfort including industry leading 18" wide seats in economy,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer. “These modern, efficient A350s will complement Virgin Atlantic’s existing fleet of 10 A330-300s and offer Virgin Atlantic crews the advantage of familiarity with Airbus operating procedures around the network”
The world’s latest generation airliner, the A350 XWB, is the newest member of Airbus’ modern, comfortable & efficient widebody product family with 18” wide seating in economy. The long-range A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings for a lighter aircraft and quiet and low emission Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines that together deliver a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn. Together, these technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with, lower environmental charges, and significantly reduced maintenance costs.