Thursday, September 25, 2014

PHOTOS: First Virgin Atlantic 787 Takes Flight

By Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Special to Airways News / Published September 23, 2014

Virgin 787-9 JDLMultimedia-2EVERETT, WA: Virgin Atlantic’s first Boeing 787-9 took to the cloudy skies over Puget Sound on Tuesday.

Virgin will be the first European operator of the stretched Dreamliner, and the fourth overall, following ANA, Air New Zealand, and United. Delivery of the jet is expected in mid-October.

According to the airline, the airplanes will be outfitted with 264 seats split between a three-class cabin. Virgin’s business cabin, dubbed Upper Class, will seat 31 in a 1-1-1 configuration. Premium economy will seat 35 in a 2-3-2 setup, with economy seating 3-3-3 layout for the remaining 198.

It will make its first revenue runs on October 28th, to mark the carrier’s 30th anniversary, flying from London to Boston. Additional destinations are expected to include New York, Newark, and Washington DC in early 2015. The jets will replace Airbus A330s and A340s currently serving each city.

The first cities to receive service are in line with the carrier’s recent announcement that it will be off-loading a number of long-haul routes in Africa and Asia in favor of bulking up service to the US. The move is largely aimed at strengthening its joint-venture with Delta Air Lines on flights from Europe to the US. The arrangement allows the two to collaborate on price, schedule, and profits.

But Virgin hasn’t ruled out utilizing the aircraft to other locations, including the Caribbean and Asia down the road, in an interview with eTN.

The British carrier has 15 of the jets on order, with options for an additional eight and purchase options for up to 20 more. It has also publicly shared that it is considering the 787-10.

Virgin 787-9 JDLMultimedia-3 Virgin 787-9 JDLMultimedia-2-2 Virgin 787-9 JDLMultimedia-1-2

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