Virgin Atlantic announces order for new aircraft

Image of a Virgin Atlantic A330 - flying across a purple, cloudy sky
Virgin Atlantic
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
17 June 2019

Virgin Atlantic has become the first UK airline to order the Airbus A330-900neo aircraft, which will make its fleet newer and cleaner than ever.

The airline announced it had ordered 14 Airbus A330-900neos, with a potential six more. This reaffirms its commitment to flying the cleanest, greenest fleet in the sky.

The new planes are designed to be 13 per cent more fuel and carbon efficient than the A330-300 they replace. They’ll also deliver a 50 per cent reduction in airport noise contour. This means the area around the airport that is affected by the noise from these aircraft will decrease. With the introduction of these aircraft and Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A350-1000s, which are arriving from summer 2019, the airline will have improved the fuel efficiency of its fleet 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,” Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, said.

“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.”

The order is a crucial step in Virgin Atlantic’s fleet transformation programme, which will see all of the airline’s planes replaced over a 10-year period.

“We will be proud to operate the youngest, cleanest fleet yet, with an average age of just over five years,” Weiss added. “It also allows us to continue innovating for our customers to create an on-board experience we know they will love.”

The Airbus A330-900nero is powered exclusively by the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine. Drawing on more than 50 million flying hours of experience from the Trent 700 engine, which powers the original version of the A330, the new engine delivers a change in performance and economics compared to its predecessor.

“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,” said Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce president of civil aerospace. “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 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency per seat.”

Virgin Atlantic is already preparing to welcome its first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft this summer, which includes a custom-made Upper Class cabin, featuring a brand new suite and social space. Visit Virgin Atlantic to find out more and book your next flight.