A350-1000 set to boost Virgin’s cargo capacity

Virgin Atlantic’s new US$4.4 billion order for 12 A350-1000 aircraft will boost lower deck cargo capacity by between 10 and 22 percent, depending on configuration, the carrier announced. The new additions, announced at this year’s Farnborough airshow in the U.K. are part of a drive to replace 50 percent of the airline’s aircraft over a six-year period.

The A350-1000 will replace the airline’s remaining Boeing 747-400s and A340-600s. Virgin Atlantic plans to debut the aircraft on flights to key U.S. destinations from London Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic is 51 percent-owned by the airline’s founder, Richard Branson and 49 percent-owned by U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines.