Virgin Atlantic will see up to 22% boost in belly capacity thanks to A350s
It is part of a fleet modernisation programme which will see 50 percent of Virgin Atlantic’s aircraft replaced in a six year period – creating one of the world’s youngest fleets.
August 18, 2016
By Donald Urquhart
Virgin Atlantic’s new US$4.4 billion order for 12 A350-1000 aircraft will mark the arrival of the most capable cargo aircraft in its fleet delivering a significant improvement in lower deck cargo capacity of between 10-22 per cent depending on configuration.
The airline, which announced the order at last month’s Farnborough International Airshow 2016 in the UK, says the investment demonstrates the strength of the Virgin Atlantic commitment to customer experience as it continues to focus on delivering sustained profit in the long term. It is part of a fleet modernisation programme which will see 50 percent of Virgin Atlantic’s aircraft replaced in a six year period – creating one of the world’s youngest fleets.
As well as boosting belly cargo capacity and promising to make long-haul travel more enjoyable for passengers, the A350-1000 is designed to be 30 per cent more fuel and carbon efficient than the aircraft it replaces in the airline’s fleet and is expected to reduce the airline’s noise footprint at airports by more than half.
John Lloyd, senior VP, Cargo at Virgin Atlantic, said: “We are confident the A350 will be the best cargo aircraft we’ve ever had in our fleet when we start to take delivery in early 2019. It is another demonstration of the airline’s focus on investing in the future for our customers.”
The A350-1000 will replace Virgin Atlantic’s remaining B747-400s and A340-600s and will operate on both business and leisure routes worldwide. Initially the aircraft will fly to key US destinations from London Heathrow.
Today, Virgin Atlantic flies to over 30 destinations worldwide, including locations across the US, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It currently has 39 aircraft in its fleet with 13 B787-9s, 10 A330-300s, eight A340-600s, and eight B747-400s.