Virgin Atlantic’s maiden Airbus A350-1000, G-VLUX (c/n 274), was delivered to its London/Gatwick base on August 10, marking the start of the airline’s move to an all twin-engine fleet. Since then, the new airliner has been based at Glasgow Airport for crew training. It will soon be followed by three other examples – pilots from the carrier flew G-VPOP, (c/n 298), on two customer acceptance flights on August 21 and 23 while G-VPRD (c/n 319) made its third flight on August 26. Both have been painted in the company’s full livery, while G-VJAM, (c/n 336), has flown twice and is understood to be in the paint shop at the time of going to press.
The carrier is due to take delivery of 12 A350-1000 examples between this year and 2021, in an order worth US$4.4bn at list prices. Four will be leased and eight purchased directly.
Red Velvet will be the first aircraft in Virgin Atlantic’s fleet to feature its new ‘Flying Icons’, which are set to replace the airline’s famous Flying Ladies. The high-flyers are “a diverse range of men and women representing modern Britain”.
The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered jet is designed to be 30% more fuel and carbon efficient than the aircraft it replaces and is expected to reduce the airline’s noise footprint at airports by more than half.