Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural A330neo flight touched down in Tampa, Florida, for the first time last week as the airline expands its route map and fleet.

In 2019, Virgin Atlantic became the first UK airline to announce a firm order for up to 16 Airbus A330-900neos.

The A330neo’s are designed to deliver a 50 per cent reduction in airport noise contour and 11 per cent less fuel burn and carbon emissions.

Young fleet

The deliveries will help Virgin have one of the youngest fleets in the skies with an average age of just under seven years.

The A330neo is powered by the Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engine, drawing on more than 50 million flying hours of experience from the Trent 700, which powers the original version of the A330.

The new year-round Florida service will initially fly four times a week before increasing to daily from 28th November, complementing the airline’s flights to Miami and Orlando.

This latest addition follows the airline’s launch of direct flights between London and Austin, Texas in May 2022.

‘Double reasons to celebrate’

Sir Richard Branson, president of Virgin Atlantic and founder of Virgin Group, said: “We have double the reasons to celebrate today as we fly our brand-new plane into our latest destination – Tampa Bay. I can’t think of a better way to mark our arrival into this incredible region than by giving passengers the best start to their journeys on our new A330neo.

“Tampa Bay has it all; a year-round warm climate, vibrant nightlife, endless attractions and of course some of the world’s best beaches in St Pete and Clearwater. Combined with its emerging entrepreneurial mindset, the region simply makes sense for Virgin Atlantic and I can’t wait for our customers to experience all it has to offer.”

‘Multi billion dollar fleet transformation’

Shai Weiss, CEO at Virgin Atlantic, commented: “Today is a significant milestone in Virgin Atlantic’s continued growth, as we get back to our best for our customers and people.

“The USA is our heartland and Florida has an important role in our American portfolio, so I’m delighted to be bolstering connectivity to the region with the only direct flight to London Heathrow.

“It’s also fitting that our new route will enjoy our newest aircraft, the A330neo. This plane has evolved our customer experience, with every traveller receiving a premium experience regardless of the cabin they travel in.

“It also plays a significant role in our multi billion dollar fleet transformation, demonstrating our commitment to the planet.

“We know the most impactful thing we can do as an airline is to fly the cleanest, greenest, youngest fleet possible and the A330neo is integral to achieving this goal.”
Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter