• Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1041 (2)

    Virgin Atlantic

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    London Heathrow Airport

    Year Founded:

    Shai Weiss

    United Kingdom

Virgin Atlantic has delayed the introduction of the A330neo (A330-900). The first revenue-generating flight will now be on Thursday, October 27th, rather than Wednesday, October 12th. However, the first destination – Boston – remains unchanged.

Virgin Atlantic’s A330neos

Virgin will be the first UK airline to fly the A330neo. It has 16 due for delivery between 2022 and 2026. Based on its current winter plans, it will need four aircraft (plus any spare), with three due soon. Now fully painted, the first will be registered G-VJAZ, which (as F-WWCG) flew for the first time on August 12th. Presumably, it will be delivered in early to mid-October.

Virgin hasn’t ordered the A330neo for increased capacity. Indeed, each aircraft will have 262 seats, fewer than any other type in its fleet and four seats fewer than the A330-300s they’ll replace. There will be 32 seats in Upper Class (two Retreat Suites, 30 Upper Class seats), 46 in Premium, 28 in Economy Delight, and 156 in Economy Classic.

Of course, the primary difference is meaningfully lower fuel consumption (perhaps 11-13%), improving route economics. If Virgin has ordered the 251-ton maximum takeoff weight version, it’ll have a range of up to about 8,000 miles (12,874km), although that might not be needed – certainly not this winter. Still, it’d be a longer range than all of Virgin’s existing routes, providing flexibility.

Then there’s better environmental performance and a much-touted improved hard product. There’s an all-new business class, with the Retreat Suites – the design is not dissimilar to Qatar Airways’ QSuites – particularly notable.

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First route: Boston

According to OAG and reflected in Virgin’s booking engine, the first A330neo route – London Heathrow to Boston – will now take off on October 27th. However, things might still change, so stay tuned.

Not surprisingly, it’ll replace the 264-seat A330-300 on the route. Virgin is one of six airlines between London and Boston, a market with up to nine daily flights.

The flight schedule on the 27th is as follows, with all times local:

  • London Heathrow to Boston: VS11, 17:30-20:15
  • Boston to London Heathrow: VS12, 22:15-10:00+1

The A330neo will be used on five routes this winter. Photo: Virgin Atlantic.

Five winter routes by the A330neo

Between October 27th and March 25th, the last day of the Northern Hemisphere aviation winter season, the following will all see Virgin’s A330neos. They include Tampa, a brand-new route for Virgin and Heathrow, which was to use A330-300. Indeed, Tampa will have more A330neo flights than any other Virgin route.

It’s not just Boston that has seen change. Most of the others have too. Here’s a summary of what’s planned as of September 26th:

  1. Boston: A330neo from October 27th (VS11/VS12); rising to 6x weekly A330neo from November, alongside 1x by A330-300; B787-9 planned on November 3rd/8th/22nd and December 6th
  2. Tampa: A330neo from November 2nd (VS129/VS130), sub-daily but rising to 1x daily from November 27th; A350-1000 one-off on November 9th
  3. New York JFK: A330neo one-off on November 7th (VS9/VS10), then up to 1x daily from March 6th (VS3/VS4)
  4. Miami: A330neo from November 13th (VS5/VS6), sub-daily, but then up to 1x daily from 1x daily A330neo from December 5th
  5. Atlanta: A330neo on March 21st and 25th (VS103/VS104)

What do you make of Virgin’s incoming A330neos? Let us know in the comments.

Source: simpleflying.com

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