Tag Archives: Airbus A350-1000

Virgin Atlantic places its first Airbus A350-1000 ‘Red Velvet’ into service

Virgin Atlantic placed its first Airbus A350-1000 (G-VLUX) into revenue service yesterday, September 10, between London (Heathrow) and New York (JFK).

All photos by the airline.

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Virgin Atlantic announces its first Airbus A350-1000 route

 

Virgin Atlantic Airways has opened reservations for its first Airbus A350-1000 route.

According to Airline Route, the carrier will introduce the new type on September 10, 2019 between London (Heathrow) and New York (JFK).

Initially the A350 will operate six days a week on the route.

Image: Airbus.

The first Airbus A350-1000 of British Airways completes its first flight

First Airbus A350-1000 for British Airways

British Airways has 18 new Airbus A350-1000s on order.

The pictured Airbus A350-1041 F-WZFH (msn 326) completed its 6-hour test first flight on July 2. The new airliner will become G-XWBA on delivery.

The new type will seat 331 in three classes.

Previously in March BA unveiled its new business class ‘Club Suite’ for the A350:

British Airways has unveiled its highly-anticipated new business class seat – ‘Club Suite’ – and confirmed it will arrive on the first of its Airbus A350-1000 aircraft in July.

The airline’s sophisticated and newly-branded ‘Club Suite’ offers direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy and luxurious flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Boasting 40 per cent more storage, including a vanity unit and mirror, WiFi, enviable 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens*, high definition gate-to-gate programming, and PC / USB power; every aspect of British Airways’ Club Suite has been designed for today’s customer.

 

The A350 aircraft itself will also promote a feeling of well-being, space and calm due to its reduced noise levels, high ceilings and ambient lighting which is intended to compliment the time of day and outside light. Customers will leave their flight feeling rested thanks to higher levels of humidity and refreshed air as the cabin pressure is equivalent to an altitude of just 6,000 feet. There are also environmental benefits to flying on the state-of the-art A350 as 25 percent lower fuel burn significantly reduces CO2 emissions.

As well as a new 56-seat Club World cabin, the three-cabin A350 will feature the latest World Traveller Plus cabin (56 seats) with new furnishings including a plush new pillow and warm quilt, new amenity kits and an enhanced service and an improved dining experience. The World Traveller (economy) cabin offers 219 seats. Customers will also benefit from high-speed WiFi, allowing travellers to browse the internet on their personal electronic devices.

The airline, which is marking its centenary this year, will roll out the new suites in a carefully managed programme designed to minimise disruption to customers.

During phase one, the first A350 aircraft will start some short-haul flying between London and Madrid to allow the airline’s teams to perfect their customer service delivery and familiarise cabin crew with the aircraft layout.

In phase two, from October 1, 2019, the aircraft will begin long-haul flying. During this period another three A350 aircraft will join the British Airways fleet and two Boeing 777 aircraft will also be retrofitted with the new cabin.

At the start of 2020 phase three will begin which will see British Airways rolling out its Club Suite on further long-haul aircraft across the network.

New routes being launched this year include Osaka, Pittsburgh and Charleston.

Over the next five years British Airways will take delivery of 72 new aircraft, including four new types: The Airbus A350-1000, Boeing 787-10 for long-haul as well as A320 and A321 Neo aircraft for short-haul.

In addition to this the airline has also recently placed an order for 18 Boeing 777-9 aircraft.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Airbus): British Airways Airbus A350-1041 F-WZFH (G-XWBA) (msn 326) TLS (Eurospot). Image: 946634.

British Airways aircraft slide show:

Virgin Atlantic showcases its first Airbus A350-1000 – the painting of G-VPOP

From the Virgin Atlantic blog:

By Dave Gunner.

G-VPOP, or Mamma Mia, had entered Hangar C33, 20 days ago with a patchwork of green, beige and white primers covering its primarily composite material fuselage, and emerged in our iconic red and silver colour scheme.

There’s an awful lot of science involved in painting an aircraft. The paint must be hard wearing but also flexible to cope with the loads on the aircraft structure. It needs to withstand huge swings in temperature, from minus 55 degrees Celsius at cruise altitude to 40 degrees on the ground in hot climates. It also protects the aircraft structure from harsh UV light in the upper atmosphere. And, of course, the livery is the most visible representation of our brand, so it needs to look amazing.

It costs a considerable amount of money to paint an aircraft, so the pressure is on to get it exactly right. And being Virgin Atlantic, we’ll add to that pressure by insisting on using some of the most technically challenging paint to apply. Overseeing the whole paint process is camera-shy senior design engineer Dave Napper, and design and development engineer Sam Hamdan. They work with Paul Reilly, one of our aircraft assets managers responsible for the delivery of our A350 fleet. I caught up with them to discover more about the process and soon felt like I was in the middle of a particularly intense but fascinating science lesson. Here’s what I learned:

Before the aircraft went in to be painted, both our design team and the A350 project team had been working for months with the Airbus Livery Design Office. The process involves 3D modelling to make sure the livery meets all safety requirements and regulations, and that everything lines up perfectly.

Just a couple of the hundreds of decals. Sam Hamdan peforms the final inspection before accepting the paint job on G-VPOP..

When the aircraft enters the paint hangar, it is prepped for painting and then it will take about 20 Airbus specialists around eight days to apply the paint. Only certain areas can be customised: the fuselage, winglets, tailfin (or vertical stabiliser) and engine nacelles. The remaining areas (including the “Mask of Zorro”) are standardised across all airlines.

The material used to mask the paint isn’t plain paper. It’s a very specialised plastic that allows the solvents to evaporate but doesn’t allow the paint to pass through it.

What makes our aircraft really stand out is the use of an extraordinary paint called Andaro, which is applied in red onto our wingtips, engine covers and vertical tail plane, and in aubergine for the letters of our logo. This highly reflective paint is unique to us in the airline world, and it looks absolutely gorgeous, especially in the sun.

As the old saying goes, ‘If it were easy, everyone would do it’. Andaro paint takes some serious skill to get right, which is why the team at the Airbus Paint Centre have been practising the application on test panels for several months ahead of the first aircraft arriving in the shop. The right colour is reached by stacking a tinted lacquer on a metallic (salmon coloured) base. Any overspray results in a darker colour red. Getting a consistent finish of precisely the right shade, when applied by a team of sprayers working across different panels, is incredibly skilled work.

The Andaro topcoat colour is based on nano pigment technology. Nanopigments are insoluble crystals with a maximum diameter of 10 to 80 nanometers. A nanometer is one thousand-millionth of a meter. A human hair is around 80,000 nm thick!

Emerging for the first time. G-VPOP, Mamma Mia

If you were to open a tin of the Andaro red paint, it would look clear. The concept was developed using the red nano pigment on top of a mirror as the product is translucent. Light is reflected back, which gives it the iridescent qualities in bright sunlight.

The Andaro name only refers to the red and aubergine components in the livery. The dominant livery colour is silver, which gets its sparkle from a mica layer containing tiny particles of ceramic.

Applying the Virgin Atlantic livery

First glimpse of the finished A350. The Mica and Andaro looking gorgeous in Hangar C33 at the Airbus paint shop in Toulouse.

The paint is applied in six layers, with the first three at the manufacturing stage:

  • A basic primer which is soft and sticky. The job of the primer is to aid the adhesion of the other coats. It also starts the process of smoothing out the contours of the composite weave.
  • A chromate-free primer which sticks to the basic primer and is slightly firmer
  • An intermediate coat or the ‘selectivity strippable barrier’ coat. This is the beige coat on the aircraft when it goes into the hangar. As well as now being completely hard, any paint on top of this coat can be stripped to allow for new topcoats and liveries to be applied.

The next three layers are applied in the paint shop:

  • The Basecoat. This is where the magic starts. This coat will either be silver, for the main fuselage, or a salmon pink colour for the red bits (engine covers, wing tips and tailfin).
  • Now for the real colour. The red and aubergine Andaro, and the silver Mica Coat. The Andaro layer can take three to four coats of paint.
  • The Clear Coat. Like a top coat of nail varnish, this is the finishing touch which protects the paint and gives the aircraft that lovely polished look.

The temperature and humidity in the hangar have a significant impact on the process. Paint shops in hotter climates use different paint mixtures.

The finishing touch to the livery, the application of our famous ‘flying icon’ on the nose of the aircraft, will take place once G-VPOP arrives into London.

Count the decals.The door with its high contrast ‘door band’ and the outboard side of the left engine with its giant Rolls Royce sticker.

Finally, hundreds of little warning signs and markings are imprinted all over the aircraft. A lot of these are mandatory, and they’re applied in a mixture of decals and stencils depending on their position. Many are safety critical and have to meet stringent regulations for things like the contrast with their background colour. An example of this is on the doors, where there are ‘door bands’ to highlight their location.

The “V” letter on the side of the aircraft is 144″ high (3.66 metres) tall. The total length of the Virgin Atlantic logo is 1350″ (34.3m)

At more than 26 inches tall, the Rolls Royce stickers on the huge Trent XWB engines are the largest ones in the sky.

Teamwork. Paul and Sam (orange hi-viz) with the Airbus paint team

Before our engineers accept the aircraft from Airbus, they undertake a thorough inspection of the paint. This takes at least four hours and is done using the customer acceptance criteria of the Airbus paint guidelines and technical drawings. Sam did the inspection for the first aircraft. He will have checked the gloss levels using a photometer and carefully checked the whole aircraft for paint runs, fisheyes*, microbubbles, peeling and overspray. We’re pleased to say it passed with … ahem… flying colours!

The end result speaks for itself. Our new A350 looks incredible. G-VPOP will soon be setting off on her travels around the world, and her gorgeous new paint job will no doubt feature as the backdrop for countless ‘off on our holiday’ snaps for many years to come.


*Fisheyes are when the paint reacts and moves away creating a spot with a darker ring around it, like they eye of a fish.

 

Qatar Airways brings the Airbus A350-1000 to both Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston

Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1041 A7-ANF (msn 161) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 946625.

Qatar Airways has made this announcement:

Qatar Airways most technologically advanced passenger aircraft, the Airbus A350-1000, is now available on flights to and from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

The A350-1000, equipped with the airline’s luxurious Business Class seat Qsuite, currently operates commercial flights on its New York-Doha route.

One of the latest additions to the Airbus family of twin-aisle, wide-body jetliners, the A350-1000 offers 327 seats across two cabins – 46 Qsuite Business Class seats and 281 extra-wide 18-inch seats in Economy Class. Similar to the A350-900 – for which Qatar Airways was also the global launch customer – the high-performance A350-1000 boasts an advanced airframe with extensive use of composite materials. Coupled with a fuselage innovatively built with carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, the jetliner burns lesser fuel, reducing harmful effects to the environment. On the inside, LED mood lighting mimics a natural sunrise and sunset to help reduce the effects of jet lag. The A350-1000 is seven meters longer than the A350 XWB and offers 28 per cent more capacity in the Premium class cabin.

The aircraft also features the airline’s groundbreaking Qsuite seat, which offers passengers a First Class experience in the Business Class cabin. Qsuite offers the industry’s first-ever double bed in Business Class, as well as privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private space, offering an unmatched, customizable experience for international travel.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA) to more than 160 destinations worldwide.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1041 A7-ANF (msn 161) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 946625.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show:

Virgin Atlantic’s new Airbus A350-1000 including “The Loft”

By Dave Gunner.

Virgin Atlantic has given us a peak preview of its new Airbus A350-1000 on its blog:

Ahead of the delivery of our first A350 aircraft, we’ve been showcasing our gorgeous new cabin interiors to an audience of VIPs. It was a special night at our West Sussex base, attended by journalists, leaders from the travel industry and some of our most valued customers, alongside representatives from Airbus and Rolls Royce. They all enjoyed a tour of our new Airbus A350 experience which included VR and augmented reality displays, talks by the design team and even the opportunity to try their hand at opening our A350 training door. There was also a pop-up Clubhouse supplying food and drink and a spa as well as speeches from our CEO Shai Weiss and EVP Customer Mark Anderson. It was a great night and a fitting celebration of our new aircraft.

There are new  planes and  then there are  Virgin Atlantic new planes.

Here’s everything you need to know about our A350, the designs, the cabins and some of the people that made the magic happen.


Introducing The Loft

The Loft is a unique space for Upper Class customers to gather, chat, grab a drink or dine with friends. As well as enjoying luxe comfort and high end finishes, you can settle in with Bluetooth headphones and catch a show or watch the live tailcam.

  • The Loft is the largest social space of any business class cabin at Virgin Atlantic. The space features a 32-inch touchscreen monitor and eight Bluetooth audio jacks so you can view content together. This is the first time we’ve offered Bluetooth in the social space.
  • It provides space for eight customers – twice the capacity of the existing social spaces on board (five seated three standing).
  • All of the chairs in The Loft feature seatbelts, a new feature for Virgin Atlantic, which means you can even continue to occupy The Loft during turbulence.
  • The Loft was designed collaboratively by Virgin Atlantic and London based Factory Design, and is manufactured by AIM Altitude in Bournemouth

Introducing the A350 Upper Class suite – experience the evolution

The new Upper Class suite is the perfect retreat at 30,000 feet. Every seat faces towards the window and comes with enhanced privacy, plenty of space and storage, adjustable mood lighting, and an 18.5 inch screen – all with inimitable Virgin Atlantic style.

  • The dreamiest, comfiest flying experience
  • The brand new Upper Class suite has been exclusively designed for Virgin Atlantic in collaboration with our in-house design team
  • Each aircraft offers 44 Upper Class suites in a 1-2-1 configuration
  • The stylish suite features luxurious Claret leather with intricate, signature Virgin red stitching
  • You can relax into a 44 inch seat pitch or recline into a fully flat bed
  • Each suite features a cocktail table, shelving and a larger tray table to store personal items
  • More privacy
  • The cabin offers greater levels of privacy with higher walls around each suite and deployable privacy screens
  • The 1-2- 1 configuration offers flexibility for leisure and business travellers to fly together
  • Each Upper Class suite will offer our largest ever inflight entertainment screen at 18.5 inches
  • For the first time customers can connect to the inflight entertainment via Bluetooth and enjoy wireless freedom on board. All Upper Class suites feature two USB sockets, and an AC socket adaptable for UK, US and EU plugs

A350 Premium – luxe leather seats and Premium perks

Rich, custom leather seats and high end finishes welcome you into the Premium cabin of the A350. You can enjoy a lot more storage for all your belongings and a generous 13.3 inch screen for the next generation entertainment system. Tailored for Virgin Atlantic, our Premium seat features a luxurious Claret leather seat with intricate stitch detailing, a pressed black wool cocktail tray and meal table, and an Oxblood red upper literature pocket interior.

  • Four-way adjustable leather headrest
  • 56 seats offering a generous 7 inch recline
  • Full size bi-fold table
  • More areas and pockets for storage including a side amenity pocket, as well as upper and lower seatback stowage
  • USB ports
  • 18.5 inch seat width
  • 13.3 inch seatback screens – the biggest ever in Premium
  • Intuitive new entertainment system, controllable by personal devices

A350 Economy – bespoke design for ultimate comfort

Our newest Economy seats are designed with bespoke woven fabrics inspired by fashion houses. Six-way adjustable headrests ensure comfort, and the 11.6 inch seatback screens with our next generation entertainment system are worth settling in for.

  • 235 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration
  • New upgraded seats in luxury woven fabrics and high quality wool blend
  • 11.6 inch seatback screens
  • Intuitive new entertainment system, controllable by personal devices
  • USB ports in every seat
  • Up to 17.4 inch seat width
  • 31 inch Classic and Light seat pitch
  • 34 inch Economy Delight seat pitch

A350 fleet information

In total, Virgin Atlantic will take delivery of 12 A350-1000 aircraft between 2019 and 2021, in an order worth $4.4bn (list price). The first four aircraft will be delivered in summer/autumn 2019, and further names and registrations will be revealed in due course.

The configuration
  • 44 seats in Upper Class
  • 56 seats in Premium
  • 235 seats in Economy
Routes

Our new aircraft will fly from both London Heathrow and London Gatwick, with initial flights operating between London Heathrow and New York JFK and Atlanta

Typical operating characteristics
  • The Airbus A350-1000 has a range up to 7950 nautical miles
  • Overall length – 72.25m (237ft 0.5in)
  • Wing Span – 64.75m (212ft 5.2in)
  • Height – 17.08m (56ft 0.3in)
  • Cargo capacity of 208.2m3, (7352 cubic feet)
  • Maximum take-off weight of 308,000kg
  • Typical cruising speed of M0.85
Additional customer benefits of the Airbus A350-1000
  • Larger panoramic windows
  • Spacious feel thanks to the illuminated dome ceiling design
  • Cleaner air with an advanced filtration system
  • Calmer cabin with quieter engines and air conditioning
  • Improved cabin atmosphere with lower cabin altitude
  • Improved storage with larger overhead bins

British Airways welcomes its new Airbus A350-1000 and unveils its new Business Class “Club Suite”

British Airways has unveiled its highly-anticipated new business class seat – ‘Club Suite’ – and confirmed it will arrive on the first of its Airbus A350 aircraft in July.

The airline’s sophisticated and newly-branded ‘Club Suite’ offers direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy and luxurious flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Boasting 40 per cent more storage, including a vanity unit and mirror, WiFi, enviable 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens*, high definition gate-to-gate programming, and PC / USB power; every aspect of British Airways’ Club Suite has been designed for today’s customer.

The A350 aircraft itself will also promote a feeling of well-being, space and calm due to its reduced noise levels, high ceilings and ambient lighting which is intended to compliment the time of day and outside light. Customers will leave their flight feeling rested thanks to higher levels of humidity and refreshed air as the cabin pressure is equivalent to an altitude of just 6,000 feet. There are also environmental benefits to flying on the state-of the-art A350 as 25 per cent lower fuel burn significantly reduces CO2 emissions.

As well as a new 56-seat Club World cabin, the three-cabin A350 will feature the latest World Traveller Plus cabin (56 seats) with new furnishings including a plush new pillow and warm quilt, new amenity kits and an enhanced service and an improved dining experience. The World Traveller (economy) cabin offers 219 seats. Customers will also benefit from high-speed WiFi, allowing travellers to browse the internet on their personal electronic devices.

The airline, which is marking its centenary this year, will roll out the new suites in a carefully managed programme designed to minimise disruption to customers.

During phase one, the first A350 aircraft will start some short-haul flying between London and Madrid to allow the airline’s teams to perfect their customer service delivery and familiarize cabin crew with the aircraft layout.

In phase two, from October 1, 2019, the aircraft will begin long-haul flying. During this period another three A350 aircraft will join the British Airways fleet and two Boeing 777 aircraft will also be retrofitted with the new cabin.

At the start of 2020 phase three will begin which will see British Airways rolling out its Club Suite on further long-haul aircraft across the network.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “The arrival of our first A350 featuring our new Club Suite is one of the most exciting developments in our £6.5 billion investment programme.

“Each new suite has direct aisle access and comes with a personal door – design features which were incorporated as a direct result of the feedback we’ve had from our customers. We’ve worked hard to ensure every aspect of the Club World experience from the lounges we’ve refreshed, to the new gourmet menus from Do&Co on flights from Heathrow, and the luxurious bedding we’ve introduced from The White Company exudes the very British style and quality customers expect from us.

“At British Airways we have one of Europe’s largest long-haul fleets and most far-reaching global networks, so it will take some time to make the cabin available to everybody. We hope that as more customers have the chance to experience it, they’ll enjoy travelling in it as much as we’ve enjoyed designing it.”

As part of British Airways’ £6.5 billion investment for its customers, the airline is also delivering changes to its First, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins, delivering exceptional new restaurant-style catering from Do&Co, rolling out industry-leading Wi-Fi on board and opening new lounges across the world. New routes being launched this year include Osaka, Pittsburgh and Charleston.

Over the next five years British Airways will take delivery of 72 new aircraft, including four new types: The Airbus A350-1000, Boeing 787-10 for long-haul as well as A320 and A321 Neo aircraft for short-haul.

In addition to this the airline has also recently placed an order for 18 Boeing 777-9 aircraft.

Over the last four years the airline has taken delivery of 57 new, fuel efficient aircraft, including A380s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

By 2020 British Airways will have received 100 new aircraft in less than a decade.

Photos: British Airways Airbus.