by Makida Moka
Virgin Atlantic held a press briefing to announce the launch of its Boeing 787 aircraft, fondly called ‘Birthday Girl’, at ‘The W Hotel. Buckhead, Atlanta, on Friday, 24 October, and YNaija was there to cover the historic event.
During the briefing which was attended by representatives of the company, and founder, Sir Richard Branson, it was revealed that Virgin Atlantic commenced operation 30 years ago with a second hand Boeing 747 aircraft, and over the years, the Virgin Atlantic planes have become more fuel efficient, environmentally friendly and more beautiful.
Sir Richard Branson expressed his pride at the impressive work of his team over the years. “I’m incredibly proud of what the team has achieved and we still have that same spirit from when we started 30 years ago.”
It was also revealed that the Boeing 787 deal was sealed 7 years ago but there were delays which prompted several postponements.
According to the company’s projections, by 2018, the Boeing 787 would make up 50% of the airline’s fleet of aircraft, and by 2020, Virgin Atlantic would have reduced its carbon footprint by 30%. Virgin Atlantic will also spend £300 million on customer service over the next few years.
The new Boeing 787 aircraft is built for long haul flights but will be initially used for short distance flights. It will begin operations at the East Coast of the United States in the early days, and will subsequently expand to the West coast.
At the press briefing, it was disclosed that there are no plans for Virgin Atlantic to fly from other European cities apart from the United Kingdom, because of the airline’s determination to bring the UK and US closer.
The first Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 aircraft will take to the skies on 26 October, flying from London Heathrow to Boston, signaling the arrival of the airline’s new £2bn fleet of 16 aircraft.