Virgin Atlantic announced today that despite the current economic downturn, it plans to purchase an additional 10 Airbus A330-300 Aircraft. The purchase will allow Virgin Atlantic to expand its services prior to the delivery of their Boeing 787 Dreamliners The full media release from Virgin Atlantic can be read below: Virgin Atlantic, one of the world’s leading long-haul airlines, today announced a $2.1billion order for 10 new Airbus A330-300 aircraft which will be delivered from early 2011. Five of the aircraft will arrive in 2011 and five in 2012. The new aircraft, which can seat up to 270 passengers, will operate on many of Virgin Atlantic’s existing business and leisure routes worldwide. They will also assist future growth, helping Virgin Atlantic to fly to new destinations from London such as Beijing, Cancun and Vancouver. The more fuel-efficient A330-300s, which deliver lower maintenance costs as well as substantial cargo capacity, will integrate with Virgin Atlantic’s existing fleet of 38 aircraft and help the airline expand before the arrival of 15 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, from 2013. Each of the A330-300 aircraft will feature the next generation of seats, which will be lighter and even more comfortable than those in the air today. Every passenger will benefit from a dynamic new entertainment hub, including USB ports and power sockets in Upper Class and Premium Economy cabins, which will set the new standard in in-flight systems. All Virgin Atlantic travelers will also be able to send and receive emails and texts on their Blackberries, handheld PDAs and other mobile devices. Virgin Atlantic will be the first UK long-haul airline to roll-out this service across its fleet. The new twin-engine A330-300s will ensure that Virgin Atlantic maintains its reputation for flying one of the most modern and environmentally friendly fleets in the world. It is nearly 10% more fuel efficient than the A340-300 aircraft. Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, commented: “Despite the worst economic conditions in decades, we are focusing on sustainable growth in the years ahead using the most fuel-efficient aircraft possible. Virgin Atlantic has a strong history of successfully investing during a downturn and our Airbus order today sends a strong signal that now is the time to invest, in order to help protect jobs and get the world’s economy moving again.” Virgin Atlantic has already secured financing for all 10 aircraft via AerCap, the integrated global aviation and aircraft leasing company. Four of the aircraft will be on direct operating leases from AerCap. To date, Airbus has won more than 1000 orders for the various versions of the A330 aircraft. Almost 600 A330s have already been delivered and the aircraft is currently flying with over 70 airlines worldwide. Virgin Atlantic is currently negotiating the engine selection for the A330-300. The manufacturers involved are General Electric, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce and the decision will be announced during the summer.
An Airbus A330 aircraft operated by Australian budget carrier Jetstar, bound for Osaka has made an emergency landing in Guam. On landing all passengers and crew disembarked successfully. The full press release from Jetstar can be read below: A Jetstar A330-200 aircraft operating directly between Osaka and the Gold Coast has made an emergency in-flight diversion but safe landing into Guam International Airport this morning. Flight JQ 20 departed Osaka (Kansai International Airport) at 20.50 pm local time/ 22.50 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) bound for the Gold Coast. It is understood there was smoke in the cockpit followed by the right hand cockpit window area catching fire before being extinguished by technical crew approximately 3 hours and 50 minutes into the flight operating direct to Australia. The cockpit window fire was contained to the cockpit only of the aircraft before it was extinguished. The A330-200 Osaka-Gold Coast service was carrying 186 passengers, 13 crew (including 9 cabin crew and 4 pilots) and 4 infants. The majority of passengers are Japanese nationals in addition to some overseas nationals and a small number of Australians, the final number to be confirmed. The aircraft landed without incident into Guam International Airport at 02.20am local time / 02.20am AEST. All passengers and Jetstar crew are safe and there are no reports of injuries. Passengers were successfully disembarked around one hour after arrival into Guam. All passengers were addressed by Jetstar crew, were cleared through Customs and Immigration in Guam, and are now being accommodated in local hotels in Guam. Alternative flight arrangements have now been made for them to continue to Australia. Passenger and Jetstar crew recovery will occur through a Jetstar A330-200 aircraft departing this morning from Sydney to Guam and returning to Brisbane International Airport. Aircraft Engineers in Guam are currently inspecting the aircraft and Jetstar have both advised and are working proactively with relevant authorities. Further customer enquiries can be made to Jetstar on 131 538 (Australia) and updates will be made at www.Jetstar.com.