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Virgin Atlantic is set to start taking deliveries of its new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft in 2019 and on Monday I published a post showing that airline appeared to have scheduled its first A350-1000 flight.
The schedule currently shows that Virgin Atlantic’s daily flight between London and Newark on 9 September 2019 will be operated by an Airbus A350-1000 aircraft so, despite the fact that all the hints from the airline have suggested that Virgin would first deploy the new aircraft on one of its routes to Asia, the evidence suggests that this where and when we’ll first see the Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 in commercial flight….but this may not actually be the case.
Virgin Atlantic’s press team have been in touch and this is what they had to say:
What you’ve spotted is actually some testing that needs to take place before the flights can go on sale. The A350-1000 won’t be operating that particular flight to Newark.
So, what does that tell us?
Well, clearly Virgin Atlantic is saying that what we’re seeing in the schedules is just part of an internal test but it hasn’t said that Newark won’t get the first flight.
Why would Virgin Atlantic test (whatever it is testing) on the London – Newark route if that wasn’t the route on which the A350-1000 was going to fly? If the plan is to launch the new aircraft on one of the routes to Asia wouldn’t it make more sense to add the aircraft to the appropriate schedule while testing takes place?
Some have suggested that the flight showing in the schedule may just be a promotional flight to show off the new aircraft to select guests….but that seems unlikely. Would Virgin replace a scheduled commercial flight with a promotional flight when it could just as easily schedule a separate one off event?
I also don’t see why Virgin Atlantic would deny that the A350-1000 was going to fly to Newark on 9 September if that’s what was actually going to happen (so I think we can probably rule out that date/route combination from the launch options) but I still think there’s a good chance that London – Newark will be the inaugural route.
Right now I’m just very grateful to the Virgin Atlantic press team for letting me know that the 9 September flight won’t be happening. I’ve been incredibly close to moving around some points to allow me to book seats on the inaugural flight and had it not been for an infuriating glitch with Membership Rewards I may have moved the points already – that would have been annoying!
Featured image courtesy of Airbus