Belfast Telegraph

Virgin orders 12 Airbus aircraft at Farnborough

By Neil Lancefield

Virgin Atlantic has announced a $4.4bn (£3.4bn) order for 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, part-made in Northern Ireland. The airline's president, Sir Richard Branson, announced the deal on the opening day of the Farnborough International Airshow.

The "firm order" will see Virgin Atlantic buy eight of the aircraft for delivery from 2019 and lease a further four from 2020.

Components for the A350 are manufactured by Denroy Plastics in Bangor, Co Down.

Virgin Atlantic said the craft will be powered by Rolls-Royce XWB engines and are designed to be 30% more fuel and carbon efficient than the aircraft they will replace.

A spokesman added that the planes - which will operate from Heathrow and Gatwick - will reduce the airline's noise footprint at its airports by more than half.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who met Sir Richard to view a flypast by the Red Arrows at the event in Hampshire, said: "I welcome the news of Virgin Atlantic's investment.

"As well as being good news for passengers, it's great news for jobs in the UK.

"The fantastic Airbus A350 is part-built in the UK with Rolls-Royce engines and other suppliers across the country.

"It's an investment in the UK itself, and our world-beating aerospace industry."

Sir Richard said: "We're thrilled to welcome the A350 to Virgin Atlantic.

"It is an outstanding aircraft from both a customer and sustainability point of view.

"Sustainable growth and meeting our carbon targets is incredibly important to us, and the aircraft's environmental credentials were a genuine factor in our selection.

"We will be pairing its cutting edge customer proposition with our own Virgin magic to give customers the best possible experience."

Belfast Telegraph