Belfast Telegraph

Virgin Atlantic signs £3.4bn Airbus planes deal

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic has signed a 4.4 billion US dollars (£3.4 billion) order with planemaker Airbus for 12 new aircraft as it continues to modernise its fleet.

The deal consists of eight purchased and four leased A350-1000 planes, which are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

Virgin said the deal is part of a programme that aims to have 50% of its aircraft replaced over six years, creating one of the world's youngest fleets.

The aircraft, due for delivery in 2019, will operate on routes from Heathrow and Gatwick.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger said: "The size of this order demonstrates our absolute focus on investing in the future for our customers and our people, and confirms the strength of our business.

"The A350-1000 plays a pivotal role in our fleet programme, helping to create one of the youngest, cleanest, greenest fleets in the sky."

In March, Virgin Atlantic notched up its first profits in three years, helped by a joint venture with US airline Delta.