Virgin America has become the world's first airline to order a new type of fuel-efficient engine from industrial giant General Electric - and it's launched a fare sale to celebrate.
On June 15, the US airline announced with General Electric that it has become the first to order the CFM LEAP, a high-tech new jet engine which is quieter and greener than its predecessors.
The new engines, one of the first of a new generation of engines expected from makers such as General Electric, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce, use a new type of fan blade and new internal technology to increase its efficiency.
They will be fitted onto Airbus's new "eco-efficient" aircraft, the A320neo, from 2016, says Virgin America, where they are expected to considerably reduce emissions.
Fuel savings could be as much as $1.9 million per aircraft per year, according to the airline's figures, representing a 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the best engines of today, or 3,600 fewer tones of CO2.
The purchase is expected to be the first of several large aviation announcements made at this month's Paris Air Show, which begins June 20 and runs through June 26 at Le Bourget Airport in Paris, France.
To celebrate the announcement, Virgin America announced a new fare sale offering fares from $79 for flights between August 24 and November 16 -- tickets must be purchased by June 20.
Fellow low-cost airline AirTran also announced a sale this week, with fares available for purchase from June 14 through June 28.
Most are valid for travel June 25 through November 15, 2011, although some have shorter validity periods -- see the airline's website for further details.