Wednesday 28 September 2016

Virgin set to buy 12 new long-haul jets from bullish Airbus

Kari Lundgren and Andrea Rothman

Published 13/01/2016 | 02:30

Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Virgin Atlantic is set to announce a deal for 12 Airbus A350-1000 jets with a list price of $4.3bn (€3.9bn) as Richard Branson's flagship carrier renews its wide-body leisure fleet, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

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Virgin will probably buy nine of the twin-engine planes directly from Airbus and take three from leasing firms, said the people, who asked not to be named. Both the carrier and the manufacturer declined immediate comment on the matter.

Virgin Atlantic has said it's evaluating both the A350 and Boeing's 777 to replace the Boeing 747s that form the heart of its long-haul leisure operations at London Gatwick airport with more fuel-efficient jets.

The company returned to profit in 2014, bolstered by a partnership with 49pc shareholder Delta Air Lines that's seen it refocus on transatlantic routes after years of global expansion.

Meanwhile, Airbus is unperturbed by China's woes, sticking to robust demand forecasts yesterdayy after beating arch-rival Boeing in the annual tally of global aircraft orders, despite failing to close a gap on total deliveries with the world's largest jetmaker.

As share prices and oil prices steadied after weeks of volatility, Airbus maintained its confidence in demand that underpins plans for record production rates at both companies. Airbus deliveries edged up to 635 in 2015 and it predicted over 650 in 2016, to be outstripped once again by new orders. Boeing said last week its deliveries rose 5pc to a record 762 jets, extending its lead as the largest producer. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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