The airline is the first European airline to take delivery of the 787-9 and plans to operate the airplane initially on its London Heathrow to Boston route.
Virgin Atlantic’s first 787-9 touched down at London’s Gatwick Airport following a more than 7,400 kilometre non-stop flight from Paine Field in Everett, Washington.
The airplane, named ‘Birthday Girl’ in reference to the UK carrier’s 30th anniversary, is the first of 16 787-9s Virgin Atlantic has ordered from Boeing.
“The first 787-9 in Europe will be a flagship for Virgin Atlantic’s fleet, providing greatly improved efficiencies across its routes,” said Todd Nelp, vice president of European sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“The airplane, with its unique on-board features, will provide an unrivalled passenger experience, cementing Virgin Atlantic’s reputation as a true innovator in air travel.”
The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family.
With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 830 kilometres with the same environmental performance – 20 per cent less fuel use and 20 per cent fewer emissions than the airplanes they replace.
The airplane leverages the design of the 787-8, offering passenger-pleasing features such as large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.
Based out of London’s Gatwick and Heathrow Airports, as well as Manchester and Glasgow Airports, Virgin Atlantic Airways operates a fleet of approximately 40 airplanes.
Along with its first 787-9, the British operator also has a Boeing fleet of 12 747-400s operating on routes across North America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.