New Pilots

Virgin Atlantic to Place $4.3 Billion Order With Airbus

2016 01 13

Virgin Atlantic Airways reportedly is set to announce that the airline will acquire 12 Airbus A350-1000s in an order valued at about $4.3 billion at list prices. The A350-1000 is the largest aircraft in Airbus’s A350 XWB family of wide-body, dual-engine planes and is scheduled to enter service in 2017. According to the company’s 2016 price list published earlier Tuesday, each copy of the plane costs $355.7 million.

Virgin Atlantic is now 49%-owned by Delta Air Lines Co., and the U.K.-based airline has returned its attention to transatlantic routes. What that means for its fleet is retiring its remaining four-engine wide-bodies, the Boeing Co. 747 and Airbus A340, in favor of the more fuel-efficient two-engine jets. Virgin currently operates 10 747-400s and 11 A340-600s.

According to a report at Bloomberg, Virgin Atlantic is planning to buy nine of the A350-1000s and lease another three. The airline wants to take delivery of the planes in late 2018 or 2019 and is also considering adding the current version of Boeing’s 777. The new 777X is not scheduled for first delivery to customers until 2020. Virgin has taken delivery of nine 787 Dreamliners out of a total order of 17, according to Boeing’s December orders and deliveries report.

Airbus also shows firm orders from Virgin Atlantic for six of its A380 superjumbo jets, but delivery on those planes has been deferred until at least 2018 according to Bloomberg. Given that the airline is shedding its existing four-engine planes, the order for six A380s may not be as firm Airbus might believe. If Virgin is going to concentrate on transatlantic service, the giant double-deckers may not be the right plane for the job.

Virgin Atlantic Airways

Airbus Operators

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