Virgin Atlantic celebrates delivery of its first Dreamliner

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Boeing and Virgin Atlantic Airways are celebrating the delivery of the airline’s first 787-9 Dreamliner.

Virgin Atlantic is the first airline in Europe to take delivery of the 787-9 and it plans to operate the aircraft initially on its London Heathrow-Boston route.

Virgin Atlantic’s first Dreamliner touched down at London’s Gatwick Airport today, following a more than 7,400-kilometre non-stop flight from Paine Field in Washington, USA. The aeroplane, named ‘Birthday Girl’ in reference to the UK carrier’s 30thanniversary, is the first of 16 Dreamliners Virgin Atlantic has ordered from Boeing.

The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by six metres over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 830 kilometres with the same environmental performance – with 20% less fuel and 20% fewer emissions than the aeroplanes they replace.

The aircraft leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering features such as large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.

Based out of London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports, as well as Manchester and Glasgow airports, Virgin Atlantic Airways operates a fleet of approximately 40 aircraft. Along with its first 787-9, the British operator also has a Boeing fleet of 12 747-400s operating on routes across North America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.