|Virgin America A320. Photo: Virgin America
[Avionics Today 12-17-2015] Virgin America has announced plans acquire 10 new Airbus A321neo aircraft. Virgin America Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Peter Hunt expressed a liking for the aircraft earlier this month and indicated the airline would continue to invest in the A321 as the workhorse of its fleet.
The 10 new A321neos are slated for delivery beginning in the first quarter of 2017 continuing through the third quarter of 2018, and will be leased from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS).
With this delivery schedule, Virgin America expects to be among the first airlines globally to operate A321neo aircraft powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines. The aircraft will also come equipped with fuel-saving Sharklet wingtip devices, similar to the equipment on the airline's most recent aircraft deliveries, which began service in fall 2015, and the aircraft promise Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions that are 50 percent below regulatory limits outlined by the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). In addition, the aircraft promise to deliver up to 20 percent reduced fuel burn over current generation aircraft per seat, which is equivalent to cutting 5,000 tons of CO2 emissions per plane every year.
Virgin America currently operates a fleet of 58 Airbus A320 family aircraft comprised of A319 and A320 aircraft equipped with original Current Engine Option (CEO) engines. By mid-2016, Virgin America will take delivery of five additional A320ceos, bringing the total size of its fleet to 63 aircraft before the new A321neos begin to arrive in 2017.