FARNBOROUGH 2010: Virgin America signs MoU for 40 A320s

Virgin America has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to buy 40 Airbus A320s with options on 20 more, with deliveries of the firm orders planned to begin in 2013.

All the aircraft ordered will be delivered with the new Sharklet wing-tip device, designed to reduce fuel burn and emissions. With many of Virgin America’s routes being longer range than most low-fare airlines, the Sharklets will prove extremely valuable. “We’re a green company and these will make the fleet more green,” commented the airline’s CEO David Cush.

With the order set to double the size of Virgin America’s fleet, Cush was asked if he had any concerns over capacity discipline in the US market. “The cycles in US industry are well known and they do cause headaches, but overall the majors need to look to their capacity more seriously and it won’t be Virgin America destabilising the market. Consolidation is good for the industry, but we have no plans to take part in it. For the majors it makes sense. Our expectations, though, are for us to be an independent airline for a long time.”

Although the airline’s renowned inflight entertainment and information system, Red, is about to have a a major upgrade (see Low-Fare & Regional Airlines, June-July 2010), further developments are under way to be ready for when the new aircraft begin to arrive. “We are working on Cabin 2.0, an IFE system the like of which has never been seen domestically or internationally and will debut on these aircraft. It will be unlike anything else out there,” declared Cush.

Photo (courtesy of Airbus) shows (l-r) Virgin America CEO David Cush, Airbus CEO Tom Enders and Airbus COO–customers, John Leahy, during the press conference, with Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson on the screen behind contributing via a live link from the Caribbean.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net
Farnborough, UK

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