Virgin Atlantic Airways chairman Richard Branson introduced the airline’s new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to the flying public recently in a ceremony at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
The adventurous entrepreneur not only showed off the Dreamliner, but also unveiled brand-new daily service between the airline’s home base in London and the Georgia state capital. Atlanta is home to Delta Airlines, which purchased 49% of Virgin Atlantic Airways in 2013 for $US360 million.
Christened “Birthday Girl” by Virgin Atlantic in honour of the 30th anniversary of the airline’s first flight from London Gatwick Airport to Newark Liberty in June of 1984, the 787 entered service this week, flying between London Heathrow and Boston.
Virgin’s Boeing 787-9 fleet will carry up to 264 passengers in 3 separate classes — Upper Class, Premium Economy, and Economy. The Dreamliner is powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Trent turbofan engines and will have a maximum range of 8,500 nautical miles.
Virgin’s debut Dreamliner will be the first stretched 787-9 to fly with a European Airline and will be one of 15 to enter the airline’s fleet by 2018. So far, the only other airlines to operate the larger Dreamliner are All Nippon Airways, Air New Zealand, and United Airlines.
As part of increased cooperation with with Delta, Virgin Atlantic will assume one of Delta's daily flights from Atlanta to London this fall. The airline expects to expand service in Atlanta with additional flight to other destinations in the UK.
'I've always loved visiting Atlanta,' Branson said to local news. 'Now I get to visit in style on Virgin Atlantic.'
Virgin's new 787-9 Dreamliner will be able to fly up to an altitude of 40,000 ft. and should be as much as 21% more fuel efficient than the older and larger Airbus A340-300 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft it will replace.
Passengers travelling in Upper Class will have the benefit of 31 lie-flat seats. However, the centrepiece of Virgin's new cabin is ...
Those in Premium Economy will get larger and more comfortable leather seats, as well as a larger 11-in. touchscreen entertainment system. Passengers in Economy Class will get new Recaro-designed seats and a 9-in. touchscreen.
According to Virgin Atlantic, its new Vera Touch 2 entertainment system -- developed with Panasonic -- can hold as many as 400 movies, TV shows, and music files.
As is the case in all Dreamliners, Birthday Girl's passengers will enjoy a roomier vaulted ceiling, larger windows, and a more comfortable cabin climate.
The Virgin Atlantic paint job is certainly attractive -- here are some other planes that look good ...
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