Virgin Atlantic has placed an order for 15 787-9 Dreamliners with Boeing, which, at a list price of approximately $2.8 billion, makes it the largest 787 order to date for Europe. The order was previously listed on Boeing's Orders and Deliveries Web site and attributed to an unidentified customer.
The order also includes options for an additional eight 787-9s and purchase rights for an additional 20 787s.
"Virgin Atlantic is pleased to introduce the Boeing 787 Dreamliner as our aircraft of the future," said Steve Ridgway, chief executive officer, Virgin Atlantic. "This revolutionary aircraft will bring a step change to the industry, substantially reducing environmental impact and incorporating innovative design and advanced technology, while providing an enhanced flying experience for our passengers."
An environmental partnership includes a joint biofuel demonstration aimed at developing sustainable fuel sources suitable for commercial jet engines and the aviation industry. The demonstration, scheduled for 2008 using a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400, is being worked jointly with GE Aviation and Virgin Fuels. Further details will be announced later this year.
In addition, Boeing and Virgin Atlantic are working together on reducing fuel burn and cutting aircraft emissions on the ground by exploring alternatives to traditional aircraft operations at airports.
For example, Boeing and Virgin Atlantic are partnering on trials of towing airplanes to "starting grids," areas close to the active runway to start engines preflight, with a goal of reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions by up to 50 per cent, as well as limiting community noise.
Trials conducted thus far at London's Heathrow and Gatwick Airports and San Francisco International Airport have produced positive results, and work continues to develop alternative operational procedures at the world's busiest airports.