Sunday, April 25, 2010

Virgin Atlantic Announce 787 Order

Virgin Atlantic Airways has recently ordered 15 fuel-efficient Boeing 787 planes as part of an environmental partnership with the company that includes joint research into biofuels for use in jet engines. The order by the British carrier, worth $2.8 billion at list prices, also includes options for additional 787s, Virgin Atlantic said in its statement. At the same time, Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, has also revealed plans to purchase 23 of the airliner costing a combined $3.5 billion at list prices, bringing the carrier’s total order for the model to 37 aircraft from 14.
With these orders Boeing Co., the world’s second- biggest maker of commercial aircraft, has received orders valued at $6.3 billion from Air Canada and Virgin Atlantic for the new 787 Dreamliner model, which is evidently a major disappointment to competitor Airbus SAS. Boeing has informed that more than 50 percent of the 787 is scheduled to enter service sometime this year, is made of lightweight composite materials, theoretically reducing the amount of fuel the plane burns. However, experts are of the view that the fuel-efficiency claims is yet to be proved, as Virgin Atlantic has so far to choose between Rolls-Royce and General Electric engines for the aircraft.
Virgin Atlantic has once again resorted to its earlier used slogan ‘4 engines 4 long haul’ to promote its aircraft as a more secured trans-Atlantic option to twin-engine planes operated by rivals. The company further said that the 787 would be 27 percent more fuel-efficient per passenger and produce 60 percent less noise than an A340. Speaking over the new orders, the chairman of Virgin Atlantic, Richard Branson said, ‘The 787 Dreamliner symbolizes the environmentally kinder aircraft of the future, cleaner, quieter and truly the best experience in the air.’
On the other hand, British Airways, Britain’s largest carrier, who is considering to replace 34 aging Boeing 747 and 767 jets has said that Virgin Atlantic’s order would have no influence on their decision to order the new jets.
The light-weight, fuel-efficient 787 commercial planes has received a total order of 866 planes so far worth more than $90 billion since its market launch in April 2004. As a matter of fact Virgin Atlantic dealt a heavy blow to Airbus by placing a jet order worth up to $8 billion with its arch-rival, Boeing, since it has signed options on another eight and purchase rights for a further 20.
Virgin is also launching a joint venture with Boeing to develop other eco-friendly measures intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft. The association forged is a reply to criticism from environmentalists that airlines are increasing their contribution to climate change at a time when other industries are seeking to cut emissions.
In addition, Virgin is considering new long-haul flights to Perth, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Seattle, Vancouver and Bangkok. The airline currently operates 37 aircraft, so the latest order could double the size of the fleet. As of now, Boeing has 866 orders worth from 44 customers for the 787, making it the most successful jet launch in commercial airline history.