Virgin Atlantic’s first Airbus A330 aircraft took to the skies today from Manchester to Orlando signaling the arrival of its new $2.2bn fleet of 10 planes.

The new A330 aircraft will be delivered over the next two years enabling the long haul airline to take more passengers to key markets including US East Coast, East and West Africa, the Middle East and India.

Its maiden A330 aircraft, named ‘Beauty Queen’ will be Virgin Atlantic’s first long range twin engined aircraft and is the most efficient aircraft in its class today. The new plane will use 15% less fuel per seat than the airline’s A340-300 aircraft, delivering Virgin Atlantic’s commitment to flying a lower carbon fleet.

Virgin Atlantic’s first two A330 aircraft will operate on leisure routes and will have 59 Premium Economy seats and 255 Economy seats. The remaining A330-300 aircraft will be configured in the airline’s three classes: Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy.

Virgin Atlantic’s A330 aircraft will feature a revolutionary new IFE system by Panasonic. The new cutting edge system uses the latest touch screen technology which allows passengers to scroll and swipe through over 300 hours of content quickly and easily. Later this year Virgin Atlantic travellers flying on the A330 will be able to send and receive emails and texts on their Blackberries, handheld PDAs and other mobile devices.