LONDON – In the last few days, Virgin Atlantic receives its first Airbus A330neo. We pose the following question: What does this now mean for the carrier?
G-VJAZ: The 50th Airbus Aircraft for Virgin…
Data from RadarBox.com shows that G-VJAZ, the airline’s first Airbus A330-941neo, was delivered to the carrier on October 15th, having come from Toulouse.
As a milestone on its own too, G-VJAZ is also the 50th Airbus aircraft that has been delivered to the UK carrier. Virgin currently has 13 on order, with an intention to expand the fleet to 16 eventually.
Airbus said the following on the delivery:
“The A330neo will play a crucial role in the company’s fleet transformation and also marks the 50th Airbus aircraft for the UK-based airline.”
“The A330 Family is the most popular widebody aircraft ever in terms of customers and routes, while the A330neo’s flexibility in the mid-to-long-range market is unrivaled.”
“The A330neo, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, brings double-digit lower operating costs per seat and has 25 percent less fuel burn and carbon emissions compared to previous generation competitor aircraft.”
“It affords Virgin Atlantic A330-A350 fleet commonality for its pilots and a seamless passenger experience, as Virgin Atlantic already operates nine state-of-the-art A350-1000 aircraft.”
What Does This Mean For The Carrier?
For Virgin Atlantic, the delivery of the first A330neo represents the continuation of its fleet renewal strategy to have the most up-to-date aircraft.
A lot of these new aircraft will replace the carrier’s 10 Airbus A330-300 aircraft, which currently seat around 264 passengers via their three-class set-up.
The A330neos will seat around 262 passengers in a three-class configuration, but being two seats short isn’t that much of a problem, especially with the fuel efficiencies that come with the new jet.
For example, the delivery flight was powered by a 35% blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), with the A330neos certified to operate on a blend of 50% SAF, which Virgin will take advantage of.
We know this because around eight months ago, the airline signed a deal with Neste Oyi for 2.5 million liters of sustainable aviation fuel, which will be supplied via ExxonMobil.
Continuing on cost efficiencies, as mentioned by Airbus about aircraft commonality, this will save Virgin money in terms of training as it will require fewer piloting hours during that process.
The neo can cover the same amount of range as the -300, so again, it won’t be a problem when it comes to new routes going into the future.
It remains clear that in the perspective of Virgin Atlantic, the delivery of the first A330neo represents the carrier beginning its futuristic push ahead to success.
With the A330neo order, in particular, representing an increase in the carrier’s fleet, this means that over time, we will begin to see new routes instigated as well as frequencies increased for existing routes too.
That, on top of their push for sustainability and better cost efficiencies, will mean stronger profits, especially during a time when that is going to be so vital to continue surviving.