DALLAS – Virgin Atlantic (VS) has taken delivery of its maiden Airbus A330neo, becoming the first UK operator of the state-of-the-art jet.
The -900 series aircraft, registration G-VJAZ (MSN. 2018) and christened ‘Billie Holiday,’ departed the Airbus factory in Toulouse (TLS) at 15:00 local time, arriving at the carrier’s main base at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) an hour later.
VS has 13 A330-900s on order. Six will come directly from Airbus, while six, G-VJAZ included, will be leased from Air Lease Corporation (ALC).
‘Billie Holiday’ became Virgin’s 50th Airbus aircraft and marks a significant moment in the airlines fleet renewal and sustainability plans. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, it offers 25% less fuel burn and carbon emissions than the airframes it is set to replace. It also provides VS with ‘double-digit lower operating costs per seat.’
The delivery flight highlighted the Trent 7000’s capability of operating with a 50% blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), with flight VS839P flying with a 35% SAF blend.
Fleet commonality with the Airbus A350-1000 is another plus point with the airframe. This will allow Virgin’s flight crews to operate both aircraft without carrying out expensive and time-consuming conversion courses.
Onboard, passengers will benefit from Airbus’ award-winning Airspace cabin, offering a new level of comfort, ambiance, and design. This includes offering more personal space, larger overhead bins, a new lighting system, and the ability to offer the latest in-flight entertainment systems and full connectivity.’
The interiors were unveiled back in July, and cabin commonality with the A350 will ensure that its customers can enjoy a seamless passenger experience.
Virgin’s signature ‘Upper Class’ has been given a significant upgrade, offering 30 fully-private suites and two of the airlines’ Retreat Suites.’ Premium Economy will feature 46 seats, each with 38″ of seat pitch. Economy Delight can accommodate 28 passengers, with a pitch of 34″. Meanwhile, Economy Classic seats 156 with 31″ of pitch.
The type is set to enter service on the airline’s LHR-Boston (BOS) service on October 27.
Featured Image: The aircraft’s arrival also marked the 50th Airbus jet to join the VS fleet. Photo: Airbus