Aviation News

January 17, 2011

Virgin America Set to Become Airbus A320neo Launch Customer

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Virgin America A320neo.

Virgin America announced early Monday that it will become the launch customer for the new Airbus A320neo, set to take delivery of 30 of the new aircraft in 2016.

The deal firms up an memorandum of understanding for an order of 60 Airbus jets signed by Virgin America at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2010. Thirty current-model A320s will make up the first half of the order, with deliveries to begin in 2013.

The neo version of Airbus’s wildly popular A320 aircraft, announced in 2010, is expected to deliver substantial gains in efficiency and range. Neos will burn 15 percent less fuel while emitting fewer carbon emissions while reducing operating cost. The planes will also be quieter and fly up to 500 nautical miles further than the current A320.

Virgin America’s fleet will more than triple in size when deliveries are complete, from 34 today to 111 in 2019.

“At just three years old and at a time when many carriers are contracting, we’re pleased to be growing and bringing our award-winning service to new markets,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. “We credit a great deal of our success to date to having the right aircraft. The low operating costs, cabin comfort and carbon-efficient design of our all new Airbus A320 Family fleet has helped fuel our growth and success in the North American market – and we’re confident the A320neo will only build on that.”

The deal also marks a significant milestone for Airbus: the consortium’s 10,000th order.

“We hit our 5,000th order in August of 2004 – after more than 30 years. To achieve the 10,000th order just over six years later is a ringing endorsement of our product line,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. “And to do so with Virgin America, one of our newest and trendiest customers, is very fitting. The fact that this milestone also embraces the first firm order for our new, eco-efficient A320neo is also very inspiring.”

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