FARNBOROUGH: Virgin America wants sharklets on new A320s

Farnborough
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Virgin America is expecting to fit Airbus' new 'sharklet' wingtips to all of the aircraft contained in its tentative order for up to 60 A320-family jets.

The potential order, still the subject of a memorandum of understanding, covers 40 firm aircraft - for delivery from 2013-16 - and 20 options, marked for delivery in 2017-18.

No engine selection has been made although Virgin America's current fleet is CFM International CFM56-powered.

Chief executive David Cush, speaking at the Farnborough Air Show, said the carrier's "expectation" was that all the aircraft would come equipped with sharklets.

He adds that the airline has the "ability to upgrade" to the A321 which, he says, would offer range capabilities to operate "coast-to-coast and beyond". But he states that the airline still has to "work through the economics a bit more".

Cush says Airbus will the airline's "sole supplier" for "years to come" as a result of the agreement.

Virgin America has 28 aircraft - comprising 18 A320s and 10 A319s - and will put 22 more purchased and leased A320s into its fleet within two years.

Speaking by satellite link at the Farnborough show, Virgin Group's Sir Richard Branson said the agreement meant the airline was on its way to a 100-aircraft fleet in just a "handful of years".