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19 January 2011 | Lindsay Clark
Virgin America has placed an order for 60 aircraft from European manufacturer Airbus.
To counter any criticism that the US arm of the aviation empire was spending its money outside America it emphasised the supplier’s supply chain credentials in the US.
“Airbus spends some 40 per cent of its procurement budget with hundreds of suppliers in more than 40 states,” the Virgin America statement said. “In 2009 alone, Airbus spent more than $10 billion (£6.25 billion) in the US – more than it spent in procurement in any other country. Using US Department of Commerce figures, that dollar amount translates into Airbus support of 180,000 American jobs,” the company said.
Virgin America has ordered a mixture of 30 A320 aircraft, which the manufacturer is expected to deliver between 2013 and 2016, and 30 A320neo aircraft, which will arrive during 2016.
The A320neo promises 15 per cent gains in fuel efficiency with a proportionate reduction in carbon emissions. Virgin group founder Sir Richard Branson said A320neo would help the airline lower costs and reduce environmental impact. “Virgin America’s existing A320s are now up to 25 per cent more fuel and carbon efficient than the average US fleet, and the A320neo promises to improve on those numbers even more.”