Virgin Atlantic’s First Airbus A350 Heads To The Paintshop

The Airbus A350-1000, Virgin Atlantic’s first for its fleet, is expected to fly from Toulouse to Hamburg tomorrow to be painted in its full livery.

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An artist’s impression of the A350 with the Zadie Icon. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

A tweet by Pablo Gonzalez indicates the new plane has received its engines and will shortly head to Virgin’s paint shop:

Virgin’s first A350 will also see the first of Virgin’s new livery icons

Last month Virgin Atlantic revealed new liveries for its A350-1000 fleet. It has 12 of the Airbus craft on order with the first four to be delivered this year. It’s expected that Virgin Atlantic’s first A350-1000 flight will be a London to New York route in September.

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Zadie will be the first new icon since the Varga Girl was introduced. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

The planned A350-1000 livery sees Virgin Atlantic’s flying lady replaced by new icons which recognize Britain’s diversity. The new A350s will each have one of the five icons. We reported earlier this year on the new icons; the first A350 will feature “Zadie.”

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Oscar will be the final icon delivered in 2019. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

So far, the new icons will be exclusive to the A350, with Virgin’s remaining fleet keeping the “Varga Girl,” an icon inspired by 1930-40s pinups, designed by Alberto Vargas.

Nikki Humphrey, Virgin’s SVP of People, said at the time:

“By introducing our new Flying Icons I hope it encourages people from all backgrounds to feel at home flying with us, but also working with us.”

The A350 will have anticipated new business class seats

Simple Flying attended Virgin Atlantic’s A350 launch on April 9th, learning more about the new aircraft for Virgin. It will have a newly designed, Upper Class business class suite, featuring a seat that turns into an 82-inch bed at the touch of a button.

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Virgin’s new Upper Class suite. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Virgin’s A350 will also have an area called “The Loft”, which will serve as a bar for Upper Class passengers during a flight. The Loft has a 32-inch touch screen which may display live events or even drone footage.

The Loft is Virgin’s new social area, replacing the old bar area. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Virgin’s A350-1000s will have 44 seats in Upper Class and 56 in premium economy. The economy cabin has 235 seats. Premium economy seats will be 18.5 inches wide, slightly narrower than Virgin Atlantic’s current premium economy. They will recline by seven inches and have a pitch of 38 inches. Standard economy seats will be 17.4 inches wide with a five-inch recline and a 31-inch pitch.

British Airways will also debut the A350 this year, with new business class seats

British Airways is also expecting its first A350 this summer after ordering 18 of the Airbus planes. It too announced new business class seats for the craft this March. Simple Flying have compared the two airline’s planes. There are some differences between seating layout and size, and the Virgin Atlantic A350 will hold just four more passengers than British Airways’ A350.

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The new British Airways Club World suite. Photo: British Airways

Our review found it an “overall draw” on the planes, both expected to be good additions for both carriers. British Airways will debut its A350 slightly later than Virgin Atlantic, on October 1st with a route to Toronto.

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Malcolm C Wilton

BA will be operating their 350 earlier than October to Madrid to get crew used to the layout.