Virgin Atlantic Airways has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-100 at a handing over ceremony held in Toulouse France yesterday afternoon.
As soon as the handing over ceremony ended, the boys and girls in the Virgin Atlantic press room took to Twitter to let the world know the news tweeting: “We are the officially the proud owners of our first A350-1000, Red Velvet.”
This came as a bit of a surprise, as the aircraft featured in the livery reveal had been G-VPOP, Mamma Mia. Despite Mamma Mia seemingly being ahead in the production queue, G-VLUX will be the first to arrive with the carrier.
The delivery flight will take place this evening; Virgin has announced the flight number to be VS835P. Planned departure from Toulouse Blagnac at 20:15 GMT+2, arriving at London Gatwick at 20:40 GMT on flight number is VS835P. Planned departure from Toulouse Blagnac at 20:15 GMT+2, arriving at London Gatwick at 20:40 GMT.
Before the delivery, Virgin Atlantic could talk about nothing else on their social media channels even going so far as to say that the delivery of the new jet brings with it nostalgic feelings. “Later this week we’ll get delivery of our first A350-1000. We can’t wait to bring her home to London, and it’s brought back memories of our inaugural flight to Newark on “Maiden Voyager” in 1984.”
British Airways took delivery of their first A350 last week
Delivery of the shiny new aircraft makes Virgin Atlantic the second British airline to receive the A350 after British Airways took delivery of their first A350 last week.
Simple Flying reporter Tom Boon was at Heathrow Airport to greet British Airways’ new star and was lucky enough to be on board the inaugural flight to Madrid. Tom wrote an in-depth article on British Airways new dream machine that you can read about here.
Virgin Atlantic A350s will be put on the London-New York route
Virgin Atlantics first A350-1000, registration number G-VLUX will be on its way to London today and is the first of 12 A350s to be delivered between now and 2021 according to Flight Global.
Unlike British Airways who plan to put their new A350s on different routes starting with Dubai (DXB), Toronto (YYZ), Tel Aviv (TLV) and Bangalore (BLR), Virgin has taken a different tack.
Starting September 10th Virgin Atlantic’s new flagship aircraft will commence service on the prestigious London (LHR) New York (JFK) route. A second A350 will fly the same route beginning on September 24th according to aviation website One Mile at a Time.
What this means is that Virgin will be operating 13 weekly flights in each direction with the newest member of their fleet. The only day you will not be able to fly the A350 on this route is Thursday when flights VS045 and VS154 will be flown using a different type of aircraft.
The schedule, for now, is as follows:
- VS137 London to New York departing 11:50 AM arriving 2:50 PM
- VS045 London to New York departing 2:30 PM arriving 5:25 PM
- VS138 New York to London departing 7:00 PM arriving 7:20 AM (+1 day)
- VS154 New York to London departing 8:30 PM arriving 8:45 AM (+1 day)
I think that this is a masterful strategy by Virgin Atlantic to put the new planes on one of their most popular routes in a bid to take passengers away from British Airways.
Just announced today, Routes Online reports that a further two A350-1000s will operate LHR-JFK on behalf of Virgin Atlantic. This will double the capacity on this route, meaning all four of Virgin’s A350s due to be delivered by the year-end will serve this flagship route.
Virgin A350s will have a bar area
In a throwback to when flying used to be glamorous, Virgin Atlantic will feature a bar area called “The Loft” where passengers can gather to enjoy and drink or dine with friends.
As for seating arrangements, Virgin is configuring its A350s in three classes.
- 44 upper-class business seats
- 56 premium economy seats
- 235 economy seats
In total the aircraft will carry 335 passengers in state-of-the-art-comfort.