Virgin America Rethinks Fleet Growth Plan

 - November 19, 2012, 11:55 AM
Virgin America's new A320 fleet plan includes the cancellation of 20 delivery positions. (Photo: Virgin America)

Decelerating growth at Virgin America has led the airline to reconsider its fleet-expansion strategy and move to cut the number of airplanes it plans to add over the rest of the decade. Under a revised agreement reached with Airbus, Virgin America’s order for current-generation A320s will shrink from 30 airplanes to 10, all scheduled for delivery in 2015 and 2016, the airline announced Friday. Virgin America has also opted to delay delivery of 30 A320neos from the originally scheduled 2016 through 2019 to a new time span ranging from 2020 through 2022.

Average available seat mile growth will slow from the 28 percent a year over the past three years to mid-single-digit annual ASM growth over the next “several” years, it added.  The company has taken delivery of 24 aircraft since the first quarter of 2010, expanding its fleet size to 52 Airbus A320 family aircraft over that period.