Virgin Atlantic became an A3XX launch customer today, ordering six A3XX aircraft, plus six options. This commitment consolidates Virgin's expression of firm interest made in June. It brings total orders for the A3XX to 50, from six world-renowned companies, many of whom have also taken options.
Virgin Atlantic's first A3XX will be delivered in 2006 and the UK-based carrier will use its new aircraft on routes from London to New York and Los Angeles.
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways, commented: "Virgin Atlantic's strategy is to maintain our recent spectacular growth and these new aircraft will pray a large part in helping us to expand our existing services and add new routes. As other carriers are shrinking in size and cutting their network, Virgin Atlantic will be offering passengers more seats on more services to more destinations, 1 am incredibly excited about the opportunities these aircraft will bring - our reputation has been built on innovation and the A3XX will give us the opportunity to create a new flying experience for our passengers."
Noël Forgeard, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Industrie expressed the consortium's great satisfaction at Virgin Atlantic's decision. "We are extremely honoured that Virgin Atlantic has decided to become a launch customer for the A3XX," he said. 'With 50 orders and many more options from quality customers around the world, Airbus is now in a strong position to launch production of the A3XX," he added.
When the A3XX goes into service it will introduce a new way of flying. With 49 per cent more floor space and 35 per cent more seats than today's largest competing aircraft, the A3XX will provide all passengers with wider seats and a much more spacious cabin.
In addition to Virgin, the other five companies which have signed firm commitments for the A3XX are Emirates Airlines of Dubai, Air France, US based International Lease Finance Corporation (lLFC), Singapore Airlines and Qantas, of Australia.
Virgin Atlantic operate 15 Airbus Industrie aircraft, including ten A340s, two A321 s delivered this year and three A320s. Virgin Atlantic has a further ten ultra-long range high capacity A340-600 on order, and was one of Airbus Industrie's launch customers for this new four-engine aircraft, due to enter into airline service in 2002.
Airbus Industrie is a partnership between EADS and BAE SYSTEMS and offers airlines the most modern and comprehensive aircraft family. Established just 30 years ago, Airbus has sold nearly 4,100 airliners to around 200 customers and operators since its inception.