VIRGIN Atlantic Cargo says it is looking to boost capacity in its latest aircraft order.

The United Kingdom airline has announced an order for 14 Airbus A330-900neos, with an additional six as options, with a view to creating greater capacity.

The new planes are designed to be 13% more fuel and carbon efficient than the A330-300 they replace and are expected to deliver a 50% reduction in airport noise.

Over a ten-year period, 2014-2024, Virgin Atlantic’s fleet is expected to have improved its fuel efficiency by 32%, according to the company.

The US$4.1bn has been branded as “a crucial step in Virgin Atlantic’s fleet transformation program” with 100% of the airline’s planes replaced over a ten-year period.

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Of the firm order, eight are to be purchased and six leased, as Virgin Atlantic continues its investment into increasing the proportion of owned aircraft in its fleet. 

“We expect the A330-900neos to be another fantastic aircraft for cargo and will support our projected growth in the years ahead,” Virgin Atlantic Cargo managing Dominic Kennedy said.

“This also includes our new contract for Accenture’s latest AFLS 8.0 cargo management platform to enable customers to interact with us digitally, the opening of our new state-of-the-art cargo facility at Heathrow in September and the arrival of the airline’s first Airbus A350-1000’s this summer.”

In 2019, Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s volumes are expected to benefit from a 22% increase in capacity provided by the delivery of the airline’s first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft as well as the launch of its new Tel Aviv route in September.

The airline carries more than 240m kilograms of cargo annually.

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