…as capacity increases by 8.7%
Posted by Sade Williams
Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) said on Thursday, it will deploy a brand new A350-1000 aircraft on the Lagos -London route by August 2020.
This is part of the airline’s aircraft acquisition programme in an order worth $4.4 billion.
Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Shai Weiss, said at a press conference held at the George hotel, Lagos, that Nigeria tops the list of important destinations to both financial, physical and numerical growth of VAA, adding that Nigerian travellers also deserve the best equipment.
According to him, ‘Our Nigerian customers have always been among our most loyal and supportive and we’re delighted they will now be able to experience our brand new A350-1000 between Lagos and London Heathrow. Not only will it increase capacity for us on this popular route, it represents a true evolution of our customer experience and forms a significant part of our fleet transformation strategy. By 2024, we’ll operate the youngest, cleanest, greenest fleet in the sky and the fuel efficiency of Virgin Atlantic’s fleet will have improved by 32 per cent’.
“We have operated into Nigeria for 18 years, one of our most important routes is Lagos, we love Nigeria, it is such a huge connection. The A350 is 10 percent larger than what we have now, we are super excited about Nigeria, we started our fleet renewal plan since 2008, we are doing more for Lagos passengers by bringing a more efficient and newer plane”, he added.
He added that the B747s and A340s are to be phased out from the airline’s fleet. B747s could be phased out completely by 2021 while A340s could be phased out by the end of 2019.
Also speaking, Justin Bell, Commercial Manager Nigeria, Virgin Atlantic said: “This new aircraft is proof of our commitment to Nigeria and our customers. For years we have led the industry with the unparalleled service we offer our customers and this focus drives the inherent preference for Virgin Atlantic that exists today and remains at the core of everything we do.”
“Virgin Atlantic has now taken delivery of three A350 aircraft currently flying on the London Heathrow to New York JFK route, then scheduled to fly on Los Angeles, San Francisco, Johannesburg and Lagos in 2020. In total, Virgin Atlantic has ordered 12 Airbus A350-1000, joining the fleet by 2021 in an order worth an estimated $4.4 billion (list price.)
The aircraft, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, continues Virgin Atlantic’s investment in a more sustainable fleet.
The aircraft is designed to be 30 percent more fuel and carbon efficient than the aircraft it replaces and is expected to reduce the airline’s noise footprint at its airports by more than half.
The A350 will also be the first aircraft in Virgin Atlantic’s fleet to feature its new Flying Icons, which are set to replace the airline’s famous Flying Lady. The high flyers are a diverse range of men and women representing modern Britain.
The new aircraft will offer over 240,000 seats between the two cities, increasing capacity by 8.7% compared to the A340-600 which is currently serving the route.
Taking customer experience to new heights, the A350 boasts a totally redesigned Upper Class cabin and social space.
Customers can now enjoy The Loft, the largest social space in the airline’s fleet, which is designed for customers to gather, chat, enjoy a drink or dine with friends.
The Loft extends the airline’s world renowned Clubhouse experience to the skies, offering a wide range of cocktails, and the option for customers to dine together and enjoy Mile High afternoon tea by Eric Lanlard and a selection of delicious dishes by Donal Skehan. As well as enjoying luxe comfort and high end finishes, customers can settle in with Bluetooth headphones and connect to the 32” screen – catch a show, or watch the live tailcam.
The Loft is not the only innovation to the Upper Class cabin, as customers can also experience an entirely new suite, which has been designed in collaboration with a number of Virgin Atlantic’s most frequent flyers;
Every seat now faces towards the window and offers deployable privacy screens.
Laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, every suite has a 44” pitch, with a fully flat bed length of up to 82”. All suites will transition seamlessly from an upright seat, straight to a bed.
It boasts Virgin Atlantic’s largest ever in-flight entertainment screen, at 18.5”and features intuitive new system, controllable by customers’ own personal device.
In line with the rest of the fleet, the airline says every customer will still have direct aisle access.
Customers travelling in Virgin Atlantic’s award winning Premium cabin and its much loved Economy cabin will also be able to enjoy the increased levels of luxury and comfort the A350 has to offer:
Both have the largest entertainment screens ever offered; 13.3” in Premium and 11.6” in Economy.
Premium customers will also enjoy a generous 7” recline, increased space for storage, a four way adjustable headrest and a luxurious leather seat customers know and love.
Economy seats have been upgraded to new luxurious fabrics offering adjustable headrests. Economy Light and Classic will offer a 31” seat pitch whilst Economy Delight offers 34”.
The entire aircraft will also have access to high speed wifi as well as the unique and personalised service of Virgin Atlantic’s world famous Cabin Crew.