How Virgin Atlantic Is Planning To Have One Of The World’s Youngest Fleets

Virgin Atlantic is on the verge of creating one of the youngest fleets in the world after an announcement of an order for 14 Airbus A330-900neos, with the potential for six more. The carrier has become the first UK airline to order the Airbus A330-900neo, which reaffirms the company’s commitment to operating one of the youngest, cleanest fleets in the sky.

Virgin A330neo
Virgin has firmed up an order for the A330neo. Photo: Virgin

The A330neo is designed to be far more efficient than its predecessor, with lower noise levels at airports too. Virgin estimate that this will lead to a 32% reduction in fuel consumption by 2024.

Virgin Atlantic will operate one of the youngest, cleanest fleets in the world

The order, which is estimated at $4.1billion, will make Virgin Atlantic’s fleet cleaner and newer, with an average age of just 5.3 years by 2024.  In a press release, Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin, commented,

“We will be proud to operate the youngest, cleanest fleet yet, with an average age of just over five years. It also allows us to continue innovating for our customers to create an onboard experience we know they will love.”

The A330neo is proving to be a popular widebody. Photo: Airbus

The Airbus A330-900neo was launched in July 2014 and is expected to be an integral part of Virgin Atlantic’s fleet transformation. Powered by the Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engines, the aircraft delivers a substantial improvement over the original A330.

The aircraft will be based at London Heathrow, London Gatwick, and Manchester airports and will serve a mixture of business and leisure routes. 

The new Airbus A330-900neo will join the existing Virgin Atlantic fleet, which is made up of the A330-200, Airbus A330-300, A340-600, A350-1000, Boeing 747-400, and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The airline has recently revealed the retirement of a fleet of eight Boeing 747 aircraft in 2021

Virgin Atlantic and Delta take on transatlantic

Virgin Atlantic’s order for new aircraft follows its partner Delta, which recently acquired its first Airbus A330-900. Along with Virgin’s recent delivery of the first of four A350-1000s expected this year, the two have set about taking over the transatlantic market. 

While Virgin will increase its A350 services between London and New York, Delta is making a welcome return to both Gatwick and Manchester next year. While good news for transatlantic passengers, the move has been less well-received by Delta’s pilots.

Virgin’s first A350-1000 arrived last month. Photo: Virgin

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce president of civil aerospace, commented in the same press release,

“We have great respect for Virgin Atlantic’s fuel efficiency initiatives and commitment to improving sustainability across its business, and we look forward to helping the airline achieve these targets by powering its A330neo fleet with the Trent 7000 engine, which provides a 14% improvement in fuel efficiency per seat.” 

The new partnership not only highlights the strong collaboration between Virgin Atlantic and Rolls Royce, but it also shows the new strategy of airlines to operate a clean and green business.