MIAMI — Virgin Atlantic’s first Airbus A350-1000 has rolled out of the paint facility in Toulouse, sporting the airline’s full livery. The aircraft, which is expected to bear the registration G-VLUX or G-VPOP on delivery, is the first of 12 A350-1000s that the British carrier has on order.
Virgin Atlantic ordered the Airbus A350-1000 as part of its long-term plans to modernize its fleet. These planes are coming in to replace the older Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A340-600s the airline has operated for more than 20 and 13 years, respectively.
And in addition to the upcoming dozen A350-1000s, Virgin Atlantic will complement these planes with 14 Airbus A330-900s, all of which were ordered this week at the Paris Air Show.
With 26 brand-new Airbus widebodies in its fleet, Virgin Atlantic will surpass the number of Boeing airplanes it currently operates. Today, the airline boasts a fleet of 17 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, as well as eight 747-400s.
The new Airbus A350-1000s have been either leased or purchased directly from Airbus. According to Virgin Atlantic, eight aircraft will be owned by the carrier, whereas the remaining four will be leased through Air Lease Corporation.
In May, the aircraft took off on its maiden flight out of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, later entering the paint shop where it remained until today.
The first four A350-1000s will be based at London-Heathrow (LHR), with the rest being based at the airline’s bases in Manchester (MAN) or London-Gatwick (LGW).
New Flagship, New Cabins
The A350-1000 will become Virgin Atlantic’s new flagship, featuring a new cabin which will come with a myriad of new features.
The airline will be unveiling The Loft, a spacious area featuring a wide range of cocktails, and the opportunity for passengers to eat together and enjoy Mile High afternoon tea by Eric Lanlard, as well as and a selection of delicious new meals by Donal Skehan.
A big selling point is that The Loft‘s sofas have built-in seatbelts, allowing passengers to remain there during turbulent conditions.
While enjoying afternoon tea or a meal, passengers can tune in to a 32 inch TV, playing either a short film or documentary. In order to listen to what’s being shown on the screen, passengers can use complementary Bluetooth headphones, or their own if they’d prefer.
Alongside The Loft, the A350-1000 will come in a three-class configuration. The airline’s Upper Class cabin has been excellently redesigned, with every seat window facing in the cabin’s 1-2-1 configuration.
When in the upright position, the seat is at a pitch of 44 inches, increasing to a lengthy 82 inches when it turns into a comfortable full-flat bed.
The premium economy and economy cabins are more traditional. However, a quality these cabins do share with Upper Class is a generously sized IFE display, which measures 13.3-inch in Premium Economy and 11.6-inch in Economy Class.