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Fri, 21 April 2017

Virgin America Takes Delivery of Airbus’ First A321neo

Airbus has delivered the first-ever A321neo.

The aircraft, powered by CFM International’s LEAP-1A engines, was handed over to U.S. airline Virgin America at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany.

“After Virgin America having been the first customer signing for the A320neo back in December 2010, we are delighted to deliver the first A321neo to them,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus Chief Operating Officer and President Commercial Aircraft. “With our largest, latest, most fuel efficient NEO Single Aisle aircraft we are turning a new page. The new A321neo powered by next generation CFM LEAP-1A engines guarantees new levels of efficiency and longer range to its operators, greater comfort to the flying public and less emissions and noise to the airport communities. Thanks to its cutting edge technologies it is today the most eco-sensitive Single Aisle aircraft available.”

The A320neo significantly reduces noise levels, generating only half the noise footprint compared to previous generation aircraft. Equipped with fuel-saving Sharklet wingtip devices nitrous oxide emissions are 50% below regulatory requirements as outlined by the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). In addition, the aircraft with LEAP-1A engines is proven to deliver at least a 15% fuel savings compared to Virgin America’s current generation aircraft, which is equivalent to cutting 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions with each plane every year.

The first-ever A321neo, powered by CFM International’s LEAP-1A engines, has been delivered by Airbus to Virgin America

“We have been with Virgin America from the beginning and we are excited to launch this new chapter in that relationship,” said Gael Meheust, President and CEO of CFM International. “The LEAP-1A has done extremely well in its first months of commercial service. It is proving unprecedented levels of fuel efficiency and environmental responsibility while maintaining the level of  reliability Virgin America has come to expect from CFM. We think they will be very pleased with all this engine has to offer.”

Virgin America currently operates a fleet of 63 Airbus A320 family aircraft comprised of A319ceo and A320ceo aircraft powered by CFM’s CFM56-5B engines.

“We are honored to be the first operator of this high in-demand aircraft,” said Virgin America President Peter Hunt, speaking at the ceremony attended by Virgin America teammates, Executives from Airbus, CFM and the aircraft lessor GECAS. “The new A321neo – the third member of the Airbus A320 Family to join our Virgin America fleet – will allow us to further reduce our unit costs and enable us to further reduce our carbon emissions.” 

The new A321neo will become the largest aircraft in Virgin America’s fleet, featuring 185 seats - a 24% higher capacity at same comfort levels than its current A320s.

Inside the cabin, Virgin America flyers will continue to enjoy three custom-designed classes of service, touch-screen personal entertainment and an on-demand food and cocktail menu on every flight in addition to power outlets at every seat.

The aircraft is expected to enter service on 31 May 2017 with its inaugural flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

Virgin America was acquired by Alaska Air Group in December 2016.

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