By Chase Hagl
Virgin Atlantic Reveals Its First Next Gen Airbus A330neo
Earlier this week, Virgin Atlantic revealed images on Twitter of its freshly painted Airbus A330neo. The highly anticipated aircraft is just one of the carrier’s 16 Airbus A330-900s firm orders that were placed during the 2019 Paris Airshow. The new aircraft in Virgin Atlantic’s fleet is expected to enter service on Oct. 12 at Boston’s Logan International Airport.
By the end of this year, Virgin Atlantic will take delivery of three widebody aircraft — with the remaining aircraft being delivered through 2026.
The aircraft rolled out of Airbus’s paint shop in Toulouse, France and sported the signature red and white Virgin color palette. The company named this particular plane Billie Holiday, an ode to the late American jazz and swing music singer.
The A330neo looks to replace the carrier’s older A330-300 aircraft. The aircraft will be an important player in the carrier’s initiative for net-zero emissions by 2050. The Neo will reduce carbon emissions by 11 percent as well as reduce noise emissions by 50 percent through the utilization of its Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engines.
“The A330neo plays a significant role in our multi-billion dollar fleet transformation, demonstrating our commitment to the planet,” Virgin’s Chief Customer and Operating Officer, Corneel Koster, said. “We know the most impactful thing we can do as an airline is to fly the cleanest, greenest, youngest fleet possible and the A330neo is integral to achieving this goal. It’s truly a plane for the future.”
Virgin Atlantic’s A330neo utilizes a 262-passenger, three-class cabin configuration. This includes Economy, Premium, and Upper Class.
Starting in the back of the aircraft, Virgin’s Economy class consists of 184 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. Passengers can enjoy a 17.9-inch seat width with 31-34 inches of seat pitch. Installed in each seat-back is a 13.3-inch entertainment screen, which the company prides itself in for being the largest screen ever seen in an economy cabin.
The Premium Class section is located in front of the airline’s Economy class. The layout includes 46 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Premium seats have 18.5 inches of seat width and up to 38 inches of pitch allowing customers a little more legroom. Passengers also have access to an in-seat wireless charging pad.
Another popular feature is the entertainment screen’s ability to connect to passengers’ headphones via Bluetooth. The pinnacle of Virgin Atlantic’s new aircraft is its Upper Class or business class cabin. Here you can find 32 seats that each utilize private doors — creating a much more private experience for the guest.
The Upper Class cabin includes two executive “Retreat” suites. According to the airline, it is their “most spacious” suite, which contains a 6 ft 7-inch seat that doubles as a fully lie-flat bed. The suite contains a 27-inch touchscreen.
Another selling point of the new aircraft is The Loft, a space for passengers to socialize within the Upper Class. The Loft provides enough space for eight people to stand or sit comfortably. The Loft contains four lounge-style seats and allows guests to sit and chat or enjoy refreshments from a self-service fridge and drinks dispenser. The airline’s strong attention to detail is what helps the U.K. carrier stand apart from its competitors.
“We care about every detail of the cabin design and every step of our customer’s journey,” Koster added. “We’re proud to unveil our state-of-the-art A330neo and show the evolution of our customer experience, with each of our customers receiving a premium experience regardless of the cabin they travel in.”