On Thursday, November 17th, Virgin Atlantic’s A330neo fleet got a little bit bigger with the arrival of its 2nd A330-900. The aircraft made its way from Airbus facilities in Toulouse to Virgin’s London Heathrow hub and brings the airline’s total fleet count to 38.
Aircraft and delivery details
Taking off at 16:36 local time on November 17th, the A330-900 registered G-VTOM is the second of its kind delivered to Virgin Atlantic. With a flight time of one hour and 24 minutes, the jet touched down at London Heathrow at 17:00 local time.
According to AIB Family Flights, the new aircraft was first spotted conducting an engine run and taxi check on September 12th, 2022, and had a total of six test flights before its delivery flight to Heathrow. In total, the airframe with MSN 2019 accumulated nearly 13 hours of test-flight time across its six flights.
While an ICAO-mandated registration code and manufacturer serial number are enough to identify a plane, Virgin Atlantic gives all of its aircraft interesting and special nicknames. While many carriers opt to name aircraft after cities in their home country, or destinations served, Virgin Atlantic’s aircraft names are an interesting departure.
In the case of G-VTOM, the name bestowed is “Space Oddity,” which comes from a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. Why Space Oddity? Well, it’s most likely that the last three letters of the aircraft’s registration code, “TOM,” pair nicely with the lyrics of the song, which tell the tale of a fictional astronaut named Major Tom.
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Where is Virgin’s first A330neo flying?
We only need to look at where the airline’s first A330neo is flying to get a sense of Space Oddity’s future destinations. So, if we look up the flight history of G-VJAZ (nickname “Billie Holiday), we can see that the A330-900 has flown from its London home to Boston and Tampa in the United States.
The London-Boston service has flight numbers VS11/VS12, while the airline’s Tampa service is VS129/VS130. Since launching its Tampa service on November 3rd, 2022, the airline has predominantly deployed the A330-300 on the route, with a single A350-1000 flight and several A330-900 flights thrown in. Interestingly, since its first revenue flight on October 27th, the A330neo has only flown to the two cities.
About Virgin Atlantic’s A330-900s
The newest type to join the airline, Virgin has invested time and energy to make sure its A330neos offer a unique and special experience to all who board. Passengers in all classes will find Bluetooth-enabled entertainment systems and the airline’s “fastest ever WiFi.” Meanwhile, Premium and Upper Class guests will find that their seats are also fitted with wireless charging.
The A330-900’s Upper Class cabin also has two extra-spacious suites. Referred to as “The Retreat Suite,” this product allows passengers to enjoy an “intimate dinner together in their own private social space.”
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Sources: FlightRadar24.com, AIB Family Flights, Planespotters.net
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- London Heathrow Airport
- Year Founded:
- Shai Weiss
- United Kingdom