Virgin Atlantic has firmed up its commitment for six A380s plus options by signing a firm contract for the 21st century jetliner today. The A380, the only all-new very large aircraft on offer, has demonstrated its success in the marketplace by winning 62 firm commitments plus options from eight customers.
Virgin Atlantic plans to introduce new standards of passenger comfort such as casinos and duty Free Shops on board the Superjumbo. It will operate the A380, which offers 35 per cent more seats and 49 per cent more floor space than the largest aircraft flying today, on routes to the US.
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways, commented: "I am incredibly excited about the opportunities these aircraft will bring - our reputation has been built on innovation and the A380 will give us the opportunity to create a new flying experience for our passengers."
"Virgin Atlantic's strategy is to maintain our recent spectacular growth and these new aircraft will play 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."
Noël Forgeard, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus said: "Virgin Atlantic is one of the most innovative airlines and we know that Virgin will take full advantage of the great potential we are offering with the A380."
With forecast demand for 1,550 very large aircraft over the next 20 years, Airbus sees excellent market opportunities for the A380 superjumbo. As the key to coping with increasing air traffic, especially on routes between congested airports.
When it enters into service in 2006, the A380 will offer all the advantages of a completely new design, while retaining maximum commonality with the existing Airbus aircraft family. Built to the latest and most stringent certification requirements, the A380 embodies the most advanced technologies, providing 17 to 20 per cent lower direct operating costs than the largest aircraft flying today and 10 to 15 per cent more range.
With over 4,230 orders booked to date from 177 customers worldwide, Airbus is one of only two manufacturers in the market for commercial aircraft seating more than 100 passengers. Offering the most modern and comprehensive airliner family in the world, Airbus consistently captures about half of this market - a position it is well-equipped to maintaining in the future. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is jointly owned by BAE SYSTEMS and EADS.
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