Virgin Atlantic has announced the first routes to feature the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Virgin is the first European airline to receive the larger 787-9 version of the aircraft. The first one is due to arrive in September and has been rostered to fly to Boston from October 28.
Dreamliner #2 arrives in December and will fly to Washington. No 3 will serve Newark from January whilst No 4 will fly to New York JFK from February.
Virgin has 17 x 787’s on order to be delivered by 2017, with an option for a further four. The aircraft are expected to make a massive change to the economics of the company due to the 21% fuel saving over the aircraft they will replace.
The layout on the initial batch of aircraft will be 198 economy seats, 35 premium economy seats and 31 Upper Class seats.
This fact sheet on the Virgin Atlantic website makes interesting reading. It was written a couple of years ago so ignore the bit about the size of the order which has since changed.
At that point, the destinations were planned to be:
“It will also be instrumental in introducing new routes like Bangkok, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver. Due to the long range of the aircraft, both Perth and Hawaii are currently under consideration.”
As Virgin scrapped its Sydney service last month, it is highly unlikely that we will see 787s in Melbourne or Perth at any time soon. Hawaii also seems optimistic given the long flight time and lack of premium passengers.
Since Delta took a 49% stake in Virgin last year, the airline appears to be running on a more efficient basis (goodbye Sydney, swapping of routes with Delta to allow Virgin to focus on ’24 hour turnaround’ services etc). I expect those 787s will find themselves on dull but predictable ‘gateway city’ routes. Think Seattle, not Bangkok, if looking at the list above.
(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles? Click here to see recent articles on Virgin Atlantic, Little Red and Flying Club, and click here for the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)