To celebrate its 25th birthday, Virgin Atlantic did what I wanted to do when I turned 25 last year. The British airline purchased 10 new A330-300s for interim capacity while it waits for the delivery of its first 787-9 aircraft in 2013. The airline will get five in 2011 and another five in 2012. Six of will be acquired under sale and leaseback with AerCap and the remaining four will be leased directly from AerCap. No word on whether or not these six A330-300s were conversions from an outstanding batch of six A340-600s.
Also, Virgin says it is in negotiation for 50 A350 XWB aircraft to replace its 747s with first delivery in 2014.
A newly built Continental 737-900ER (N75436) was rolled out of the Renton factory and flown over the weekend with the retro "Blue Skyway" livery. Quite a good looking paint job, if I do say so myself.
First Tianjin Delivery
As early as Tuesday, Airbus will deliver its first China-built A320 to Sichuan Airlines, marking a major moment in the airframer's 40-year history. The facility will eventually build and deliver four A320 family aircraft per month when production rates begin to climb again as the global economy recovers. At the Paris Air Show, CEO Tom Enders denied a French report of attempted industrial espionage at the Chinese facility.
A little over a week ago, this very humbled airplane geek won an Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award in the Air Transport category for my 787 feature last May. Jetwhine's Rob Mark (who also went home a winner) was kind enough to grab my acceptance speech on video, so there's a permanent record out there. My colleague Niall O'Keeffe also took home the top prize in the Maintenance category for a piece he wrote for Airline Business. A huge congratulations to Flight's Mary Kirby (also known as Runway Girl), Siva Govindasamy and Aimee Turner for their nominations as well.
Paris Video Wrap Up
Mary Kirby and I took our goofiness to the max last Wedneday and the result can be found here. These wrap ups were a great way for Mary and I to blow off a little steam after exceedingly long days at the show. Their news value was questionable some days, but we had a good time and hope you did too. They were all completely ad libbed, so you'll have to bear with us. Thanks for coming along last week, we really had a blast.
First Flight Travel
This Thursday I'm Seattle bound! The FlightBlogger road show will be in full effect as I head west to cover the final days before 787 first flight. Yes, my ticket is open ended, but I still hear June 30th is the date. If the key milestones aren't accomplished this week, then we may know very soon whether or not the date slips to July. Though it's too soon to say one way or another.
So, who's going to be in Seattle this weekend?