MIAMI — Virgin Atlantic’s first Airbus A350-1000 took off on its maiden flight out of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.
The airline’s first A350-1000 will be delivered later this year and will replace the remaining six A340-600s that Virgin Atlantic has in its fleet, as well as the eight Boeing 747-400s.
The A350-1000 will serve as Virgin Atlantic’s new flagship, taking over the mantel from the Boeing 747, the airline’s Queen of the Skies, which came to rule the airline 34 years ago.
Their first A350-1000 (G-VPOP • MSN294) took flight unpainted. According to our Toulouse-based photographer, Clément Alloing, the plane was seen entering the paint hangar today. Virgin Atlantic claims the plane will receive one of the most iconic liveries in the industry.
The British carrier plans to equip its A350-1000s with 335 seats, in a three-class configuration. Featuring an all-new cabin design, the plane will include a much-needed update to its upper-class product.
The first four aircraft will be based at London-Heathrow (LHR), with the rest being based at the airline’s bases in Manchester (MAN) or London-Gatwick (LGW).
All A350-1000s are set to be handed out to the carrier by 2021.
Virgin Atlantic will also become the first European operator of the A350-1000, as well as the first UK airline to operate the type.
The A350-1000 makes the final phase of the carrier’s fleet renewal program. In 2011, the airline received its first of 10 A330-300s, which replaced some older A340s.
In 2014, the carrier received its first of 17 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which were used to replace all remaining Airbus A340-300s, most A340-600s, and the LHR-based 747-400s.