Virgin Atlantic has become the first UK airline to announce a firm order for 14 Airbus A330-900neos, with an additional six as options, reaffirming its commitment to flying the cleanest, greenest fleet in the sky.
The order, valued at $4.1billion, is a crucial step in Virgin Atlantic’s fleet transformation programme which will see 100 per cent of the airline’s planes replaced over a ten year period, creating one of the youngest fleets in the skies with an average age of just 5.3 years. Of the firm order, eight will be purchased and six leased, as Virgin Atlantic continues its investment into increasing the proportion of owned aircraft in its fleet.
The new planes are designed to be 13 per cent more fuel and carbon efficient than the A330-300 they replace and will deliver a 50 per cent reduction in airport noise contour. Over a ten year period, 2014-2024, the fuel efficiency of Virgin Atlantic’s fleet will have improved by 32 per cent.
“2019 marks a return to growth for Virgin Atlantic as we strive to become the most loved travel company and the nation’s second flag carrier at an expanded Heathrow.
A fundamental part of our strategy is collaboration with partners and our announcement today with Airbus and Rolls Royce, following the launch of our A350-1000 this summer, takes our partnership to the next level. The acquisition of 14 A330neos will play a pivotal role in our fleet transformation and it is testament to our sustainability commitment; by 2024, we will have improved the fuel efficiency of our aircraft by 32 per cent. We will be proud to operate the youngest, cleanest fleet yet, with an average age of just over five years. It also allows us to continue innovating for our customers to create an on-board experience we know they will love,” Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, commented.
“We are deeply honoured to power the A330neo, which is already becoming an aircraft of choice for prominent carriers such as Virgin Atlantic. We are also extremely proud that the Trent 7000 will be the fifth Trent variant operated by Virgin Atlantic – this is the Power of the Trent family of engines. We have great respect for Virgin Atlantic’s fuel efficiency initiatives and commitment to improving sustainability across its business, and we look forward to helping the airline achieve these targets by powering its A330neo fleet with the Trent 7000 engine, which provides a 14% improvement in fuel efficiency per seat,” Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said.