FIA16: Virgin Atlantic to upgrade fleet with 12 A350-1000s

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Virgin Atlantic and Airbus have penned an agreement on a firm order, valued at $4.4 billionn, for 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

The carrier says the investment demonstrates the strength of its commitment to customer experience as it continues to focus on delivering sustained profit in the long term.

It is part of a fleet modernisation program which will see 50 per cent of Virgin Atlantic’s aircraft replaced in a six-year period – aimed at creating one of world’s youngest fleets.

Of the 12 firm orders, eight will be purchased and four leased, as Virgin Atlantic continues its investment into increasing the mix of owned and leased aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive officer, Craig Kreeger says: “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.”

The A350-1000 will replace Virgin Atlantic’s remaining Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A340-600s, is due for delivery from early 2019 and be based at Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport – initially servicing US routes.

Virgin Atlantic president, Sir Richard Branson says: “We’re thrilled to welcome the A350 to Virgin Atlantic. It is an outstanding aircraft from both a customer and sustainability point of view. Sustainable growth and meeting our carbon targets is incredibly important to us, and the aircraft’s environmental credentials were a genuine factor in our selection.

“We will be pairing its cutting edge customer proposition with our own Virgin magic to give customers the best possible experience.”