Virgin Atlantic is preparing to take delivery of their first Airbus A350-1000, with Airbus handing over the aircraft to the airline yesterday (Friday 9th August).
In traditional style, the airline has named the aircraft Red Velvet and is registered G-VLUX.
The aircraft will take its first flight between Toulouse and London Gatwick tonight as flight VS835P according to the airline
This will be the first of twelve A350-1000 (the longer A350 variant) to be delivered airline, with a three-class configuration:
- 44 Upper Class (Business Class Seat) in a 1-2-1 formation, based on the Safran Cirrus NG seat
- 56 Premium Economy Seats in a 2-4-2 formation based on the Collins Aerospace MiQ Seat
- 235 Economy Class Seats in a 3-3-3 formation based on the Recaro CL3710
The aircraft is fitted with a Safran RAVE IFE system (Zodiac RAVE) and Inmarsat Global Express of In-Fight Connectivity.
The rise of the A350
Some operators have chosen to skip the smaller A350 in favour of one that has the capacity as well as range. With Virgin Atlantic initially stretching the A350s legs to New York before further expansion, it’s interesting to note the cabin size counts – with 56 Premium Economy Seats, as it targets the holiday market as well business markets.
As airlines work out the flexibility of the type, there may be room for more purchases to replace older fleets – indeed the A350 will initially target replacing older A340-600s and Boeing 747-400 aircraft in the Virgin Atlantic fleet.
Whilst fleet upgrades are a long and nuanced process, actual experience can guide airlines where to go and what to invest in next.
For passengers, it’s going to offer a pretty good experience on board, with a rounded set of seating, IFE and connectivity products.
Images, Virgin Atlantic.
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