UK-based Virgin Atlantic Airways has finalised a $4.4bn deal with Airbus to buy 12 A350-1000 aircraft, including eight A350-1000s and four new aircraft on long-term leases.

Delivery for the eight A350-1000s will begin in 2019 and the remaining four aircraft will be delivered from 2020 onwards and leased on a long-term basis from ALC.

The deal also includes a lease option for a fifth aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger said: “The size of this order demonstrates our absolute focus on investing in the future for our customers and our people, and confirms the strength of our business.

“The size of this order demonstrates our absolute focus on investing in the future for our customers and our people."

“The A350-1000 plays a pivotal role in our fleet programme, helping to create one of the youngest, cleanest, greenest fleets in the sky.

“We’re looking forward to introducing this aircraft to our customers, as its impressive economics, fuel performance, and quiet flying offer an irresistible proposition that makes long-haul travel more enjoyable and better for the environment."

Once delivered, the aircraft will be initially deployed at Heathrow Airport to improve Virgin Atlantic’s transatlantic network on existing business routes, and subsequently at Gatwick Airport on the airlines’ leisure routes to the Caribbean region.

Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Brégier said: “This agreement allows Virgin Atlantic to set the standard on its network by being amongst the first airlines into service with the A350-1000, with an Airspace by Airbus cabin, offering superior comfort, including industry-leading 18in wide seats in‎ economy.

“These modern, efficient A350s will complement Virgin Atlantic’s existing fleet of ten A330-300s and offer Virgin Atlantic crews the advantage of familiarity with Airbus operating procedures around the network.”

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce has secured a $900m order from Virgin Atlantic for Trent XWB engines and TotalCare long-term services, which will be employed in the newly ordered 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

Image: Virgin Atlantic to buy 12 A350-1000 aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Airbus.