Airbus celebrates its 10,000th order with Virgin America’s 60 A320 deal
Airbus announced this morning its 10,000th order with a firm contract from Virgin America for 60 A320s, including 30 A320neo aircraft. This is the first firm order for the A320 new engine option; therefore Virgin America becomes the launch customer for the A320neo. This formalizes and expands an initial commitment given at the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2010 with the inclusion of the A320neo as a new development in that deal. The 30 A320s will feature fuel-saving large wing tip devices called Sharklets. Virgin America has not yet announced its engine choice on the newly ordered A320s or the A320neo. Seating configuration on the aircraft will be the same as its existing A320 fleet (146-149 seats) in a two-class configuration.
“At just three years old and at a time when many carriers are contracting, we’re pleased to be growing and bringing our award-winning service to new markets,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. “We credit a great deal of our success to date to having the right aircraft. The low operating costs, cabin comfort and carbon-efficient design of our all-new Airbus A320 fleet has helped fuel our growth and success in the North American market – and we’re confident the A320neo will only build on that.”
“We hit our 5000th order in August of 2004 – after more than 30 years. To achieve the 10,000th order just over six years later is a ringing endorsement of our product line,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. “And it gives a strong boost to our new, eco-efficient A320neo when Virgin America, one of our newest and trendiest customers, places the first firm order, for which we are extremely grateful."
Based in San Francisco, California, Virgin America was founded in August 2007. The airline flies an exclusive fleet of more than 30 A320 Family aircraft on a growing network that reaches across North America. The airline prides itself on its guest service, unique design and amenities, including fleetwide WiFi and personal touch-screen entertainment platforms at every seat. Virgin America consistently wins travel industry and customer choice awards for its outstanding service, amenities and focus on sustainability.
“Virgin airlines are known around the world for innovation – for harnessing the best in design, technology and entertainment to reinvent the travel experience,” said Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson. “We’re just as committed to investing in the next generation solutions that will make air travel more sustainable. Climate change cannot be ignored by business, and I believe that we must rise to the challenge of combating it and find new and better ways of operating. The A320neo will help us get there, by lowering costs and reducing our impact on the environment. Virgin America’s existing A320s are now up to 25 percent more fuel and carbon efficient than the average U.S. fleet, and the A320neo promises to improve on the numbers even more.”
The A320neo responds to heightened customer environmental interest, offering a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption. The option was launched in late 2010 for first deliveries in early 2016. Airlines have the choice between CFM International’s LEAP-X engine and Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G engine. Each variant of the A320neo incorporates Sharklet wing tip devices. In addition to fuel savings, the A320neo will benefit from a double-digit reduction in NOx emissions, reduced engine noise, lower operating costs and up to 500 nautical miles more range or two metric tons more payload. The A319, A320 and A321 models on which the new engine option is offered will have 95 percent airframe commonality with the A320 Family, thus the A320neo will fit seamlessly into the existing Virgin America fleet.
Since the first Airbus aircraft went into service in 1974 with Air France, Airbus has seen sales of its aircraft grow steadily. By 1989, after its first 15 years in operation, Airbus had sold 1,000 aircraft. Less than half that time again, just seven years later in 1996, sales had risen to 2,000. Sales of Airbus aircraft had reached 3,000 in 1998, again cutting the time it took to sell another 1,000 planes by more than half. And by 2000 a total of 4,000 aircraft had been sold to the market.
Orders & deliveries
The month in review: December 2010
Orders received by Airbus in December for more 200 jetliners brought its gross orders during the year to 644, with this volume pushing the company’s overall bookings beyond the 10,000 milestone.
New business in the closing month of 2010 was primarily focused on the A320 Family, with 188 orders received from eight customers. The largest bookings in December came from Virgin America, with a contract for 60 A320s to expand its existing Airbus single-aisle fleet; followed by the China Aviation Supplies Holding Company’s order for 50 A320s. LAN Airlines – which already has every member of the A320 Family in operation or on order (A318s, A319s, A320s and A321s) – will further boost its inventory with the carrier’s December booking of six A319s, 34 A320s and 10 A321s.
Expanding the December order book were Easy Jet’s purchase of 15 A320s, along with eight A320s acquired by the AVOLON leasing company – a new customer in 2010; two A320s booked by AERCAP, one A320 for Aircraft Purchase Fleet, an A319 and an A320 for unnamed private customer.
In the widebody Airbus product line, business in December was composed of five A330-300s for China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, and 10 A350-900s booked by Air China.
The month’s results brought gross Airbus orders in 2010 to 644, boosting its total overall bookings to 10,060 as of December 31.
A total of 49 jetliners were delivered by Airbus in December, consisting of 41 A319s, A320s and A321s; three A330-200s; three A330-300s; one A340-500 and an A380. This increased the 2010 Airbus delivery tally to 510, with the company’s overall combined deliveries reaching 6,508.