In recent days, britain’s remaining fleet of a340’s operated their last flight under the virgin Atlantic banner. On the 24th of March, G-VWIN, G-VFIT and G-VNAP flew their final flights from Glasgow Prestwick to Bournemouth as VS835P, 814P and 816P respectively.
Before the longer -600 variant Virgin Atlantic operated the airbus a340-300 from 1993 until 2015, of which one, G-VSKY, suffered an emergency landing at London Heathrow after its right main landing gear did not extend upon landing. This aircraft was later repaired and returned to service.
Staying loyal to airbus, Virgin Atlantic became the launch customer of the a340-600, previously the longest aircraft in the world, taking delivery of its first example in 2002.
Unfortunately, however, the aircraft’s 4 thirst engines proved too costly for the company, so the many examples were offloaded after serving only a few years; the shortest being served by G-VGOA, only staying four years with the airline. This particular airframe later found a new life with Mahan air of Iran, as did many others, proving that there is still a small but clear demand for these aircraft, most recently being with the selling of G-VYOU to Nigeria’s Azman air in January 2020.
In Bournemouth, the aircraft will be decommissioned and returned to their lessor, Doric aviation.
The aircraft were originally due for retirement on the 26th of October 2019, then extended to the 28th of December, and then after summer 2020. This is due to major issues concerning the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines on their Boeing 787 fleet, grounding many of them. However the practical destruction of the european commercial aviation industry has meant that the beloved a340 had to be very quickly retired in order to cut short term costs and adjust to the new terms market, and ending 27 years of service and closing a great chapter in virgin Atlantic’s history.
What do you make of this news? Did you ever fly on Virgin Atlantic’s a340’s?
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