Virgin Atlantic’s new Airbus 350-1000 will soon be available for customers to experience on a number of different routes.
Speaking onboard the airline’s first A350 on a flight to New York JFK this week, Virgin Atlantic executive vice-president – operations Phil Maher said the new aircraft will be joined by two more by the end of the year.
He added while all three would initially be operated on the same route, plans are afoot to send them to other destinations in the summer of 2020.
Maher said: “It [Heathrow to New York JFK] is one of our most profitable routes.
“However, we’re always re-evaluating the route network. We’ll change the network next year.”
He added the other US destinations in the airline’s network are likely to see the A350s as the first step, which will be further aided by the arrival of three more next year before the rest of the 12 are delivered in 2021.
Nor will the aircraft be solely based at Heathrow, Maher said as five of them will be based in Gatwick too.
Maher added that the aircraft could also head to the east as part of their deployment and named both India and China as two potential destinations.
“We are looking right across the globe, the A350 gives us unrivalled capabilities to operate to these destinations,” he said.
Maher also agreed that the new aircraft could be instrumental in helping Virgin operate up to 84 routes out of Heathrow, should the airline be allocated a greater number of slots following the building of the airport’s third runway.
He argued that the government and the airport must go ahead with the project in order to help Britain in a post-Brexit world and also to stop rivals like Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Galle from stealing a march on Heathrow
Maher said: “It is necessary, it should come on time, there are costs of course in delivering it, but we’re working hand in hand with Heathrow and other partners.”
He also said the recent acquisition of Flybe will help provide the feeder flights to both Heathrow and Manchester to serve Virgin’s long-haul fleet.
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