Hot on the heels of British Airways last week, Virgin Atlantic has now become the second UK operator of the Airbus A350 and, just as with their rivals, the new addition is the longest A350-1000 model of Airbus’ long range twin.
The aircraft was rolled out in Toulouse several days ago, but yesterday arrived at Gatwick Airport to be welcomed by its new owners. The debut A350 in the fleet is registered G-VLUX and has been given the appropriately luxurious name ‘Red Velvet’ to emphasis just how special Virgin wants being a passenger on this aircraft to be.
Virgin are proud to reveal several new features to the interior of their A350. Among which the most striking includes The loft, a new luxurious lounge for up to 8 vip passengers. This features a large 32 inch touchscreen monitor and each passenger has their own individual bluetooth audio connection, the first time Virgin has ever offered this in a social space.
Also notable is the fact that every seat in the 44-space Upper-class Suite faces the window and comes with its own 18.5 inch screen and mood lighting, as well as bluetooth and USB connectivity.
The economy cabin features 235 seats arranged in 3-3-3 configuration and each of these also has an individual USB connection.
In total, Virgin Atlantic will take delivery of 12 A350-1000 aircraft between 2019 and 2021 with the first four being in service by the Autumn of this year. The seat configuration in each will be ; 44 seats in Upper Class, 56 seats in Premium, 235 seats in Economy.
Virgins A350 fleet will fly from both London Heathrow and London Gatwick. Initially the aircraft will fly between London Heathrow and New York JFK and Atlanta with routes expanding to include Manchester in due course.
Next up for Virgin will be the introduction of the Airbus A330-900 that is also currently on order. This fleet renewal will gradually see the withdrawal of the Airbus A330-200 and the venerable Boeing 747 from Virgin Atlantic service.
By Wayne Bennett . All photographs supplied by Virgin Atlantic.