Virgin Atlantic identifies first routes for 787-9

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Virgin Atlantic is to deploy its first Boeing 787-9 on the Boston route from London Heathrow, operating the service six times per week from 28 October.

The airline operates Airbus A330s and A340s on the route, which it serves in partnership with shareholder Delta Air Lines.

Its first 787-9, which will be delivered in September, will be configured in three classes, including premium economy, with 264 seats.

As its 787-9 fleet increases over the following five months, Virgin says it will place the aircraft on flights to Washington DC, Newark and New York JFK.

"The aircraft will also benefit passengers on longer-haul routes where the on-board experience and fuel efficiency benefits are even further amplified," the carrier states.

Chief executive Craig Kreeger says the type will account for over half the Virgin Atlantic fleet by 2018. While the smaller 787-8 is already in service with airlines including Norwegian, Thomson Airways and LOT, Virgin will be the first carrier in Europe to use the larger -9 variant.