Airbus delivered the first-ever A321neo to the US carrier Virgin America on April 20.
As first announced in April 2016, Virgin America was acquired by the Alaska Air Group in December 2016.
The latest generation aircraft powered by CFM International’s LEAP-1A engines was handed over at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany.
“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.”
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.
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.
The aircraft is expected to enter service on May 31, 2017, with its inaugural flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).