Virgin Atlantic has quietly retired its last three Airbus A340-600 aircraft. G-VFIT was the airline’s final A340-600 to operate a commercial flight, which was Lagos to London Heathrow on March 8, 2020.
Virgin Atlantic originally planned to retire the A340-600 in May 2020. However, due to the current global conditions of declining air travel demand, Virgin Atlantic accelerated the retirement to March 9, 2020.
The last three Virgin Atlantic A340-600s, G-VNAP, G-VWIN, and G-VFIT, were retired together and are now being stored. After G-VFIT completed its final revenue service from Lagos to London Heathrow, it was ferried to London Gatwick.
The A340-600 was originally supposed to be retired in 2019, but Virgin Atlantic postponed the retirement due to ongoing engine issues with its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet.
Virgin Atlantic became the launch customer for the A340-600 in 2002.
At its peak, Virgin Atlantic operated 19 A340-600s
Virgin Atlantic began retiring the A340-600 in 2013. However, some aircraft found new life with airlines such as Hi Fly and Mahan Air.
Virgin Atlantic’s last few retired A340-600s could also be transferred to other airlines.
Virgin Atlantic’s A340-600s were replaced with newer and more efficient aircraft such as the Boeing 787-9 and A350-1000XWB.
Video (same as text above):
Now, there aren’t many A340-600 commercial operators left:
- Azerbaijan Airlines (only 1 in fleet)
- Iberia (16 left, all to be retired by 2022)
- Mahan Air
- Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas
- South African Airways (Planning to sell all A340s)
Sad to see this beautiful aircraft go. It’s pretty stunning in Virgin Atlantic’s livery.