Virgin Atlantic has taken delivery of its first
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
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 on Friday following a more than 7,400
kilometer (4,000 nautical mile) nonstop flight from Paine Field in
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 onboard features, will provide an unrivaled 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 (6 meters) over the
787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional
830 kilometers (450 nautical miles).
The airplane offers 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.
To date, nearly 60 customers from around the
world have ordered more than 1,000 Dreamliners, approximately 40
percent of which are 787-9s.
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