Image via Artyom Anikeev /

Virgin Atlantic has sealed a 12-strong order of Airbus’s A350-1000 aircraft worth about $4.4 billion at list prices.

The contract, announced at Farnborough Airshow, is a boost for the A350, which as seen sales slowed as rival Boeing develops a larger version of the 777.

The long haul Airbus aircraft’s wings are made in the UK and the aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce engines.

US firm Air Lease Corporation confirmed that two of the aircraft would be delivered to Virgin Atlantic in spring 2020 and two the following year.

The new A350-1000s will replace Virgin’s Boeing 747 jumbo jets aircraft built in the 1990s on routes from London across the Atlantic.

Air Lease Corporation executive chairman Steven Udvar-Házy said: “We have a long history and an excellent relationship with Virgin Atlantic Airways, and we are pleased to be a part of modernizing their long haul fleet.”

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger said the airline still had options over six A380 super jumbos and continued to consider that aircraft for its fleet in future.