Virgin Atlantic has become the U.K.’s first operator of the Airbus A330neo, as the first aircraft was officially delivered to the airline flying from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport to London Heathrow on October 15, 2022.
— DanteMan (@EGLLSpotter) October 15, 2022
The plane, powered by a blend of sustainable aviation fuels on its delivery flight, has joined a fleet of 37 aircraft, including 17 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, 10 Airbus A330-300s, and nine A350-1000s.
Part of a 13-plane order that the airline placed through Air Lease Corporation (ALC) during the Paris Air Show in 2019, the new Airbus A330-900s will provide Virgin Atlantic with greater flexibility on long-haul routes that don’t require the capacity that its largest plane, the A350-1000, is equipped to offer. Likewise, the new planes will properly replace the aging A330-300s and provide the carrier with over 25% in fuel savings.
The wide-body plane features an all-new Upper Class cabin with 30 closed-door Business Class seats and a completely redesigned ‘The Loft’—the airline’s famous in-flight bar space. Moreover, the carrier introduced its eye-catching ‘Retreat Suites’—two exclusive private seats at the front of the Upper Class cabin.
Further back, a new Premium Economy seat will also be introduced with the A330neo. According to Virgin Atlantic, 46 Premium Economy seats with 38 inches of pitch and a 13.3-inch touchscreen will enhance its customers’ comfort.
Likewise, in Economy Class, 28 seats in the ‘Economy Delight’ section will offer 34 inches of pitch, followed by 156 Economy Class seats with a more restrictive 31 inches of legroom.
Virgin Atlantic notes that its A330neo comes equipped with a new in-flight connectivity system, providing each passenger with the airline’s first wireless charging capabilities, Bluetooth connectivity, and what Virgin Atlantic calls the “fastest-ever Wi-Fi” onboard any aircraft.
The brand-new jet is expected to operate its maiden revenue flight to Boston in October, though the date is yet to be confirmed by the airline.