Virgin America and Airbus signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 40 Airbus A320 aircraft today at the Farnborough International Air Show. The order will triple Virgin Americaâ€™s fleet going forward.Â The airline indicated it would announce its choice of engines for the additional aircraft once the purchase agreement is finalized.
â€œThe low operating costs and cabin comfort of the A320 fit our growth plans as well as our guestsâ€™ high expectations for comfort, style and efficiency in their travel,â€ said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush.Â
“A repeat order from Virgin America â€“ a U.S. airline growing quickly both in terms of their route network and their reputation for excellent service â€“ is a great affirmation of the benefits of operating the A320 Family,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.Â â€œWe are very pleased they have chosen to expand their reach with even more of our aircraft, and we look forward to continuing to support their Airbus fleet.”Â
Virgin America already operates 28 Airbus aircraft (10 A319s and 18 A320s) and will put a total of 22 more purchased and leased A320s into service by the end of 2012.Â Once finalized, the MoU announced today would expand the Virgin America fleet to a total of 90 Airbus aircraft.Â
With this MoU, Virgin America may choose the new, fuel-saving â€œSharkletâ€ option that is available beginning in late 2012 on A320 aircraft. Sharklets are large wing-tip devices that will enhance the eco-efficiency and payload-range performance of the A320 Family.Â Offered as a forward-fit option, they are expected to result in at least 3.5 percent reduced fuel burn over longer sectors, corresponding to an annual reduction of around 700 metric tons of carbon dioxide per aircraft. This latest development is part of a larger, continuous-improvement program for the A320 Family.