Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340 Retirement Postponed Again

Virgin Atlantic has delayed the retirement of its A340 fleet once again, as ongoing issues with the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines appear to continue to hamper capacity. Previously slated for last flights on December 8th, the aircraft is now appearing on schedules up until the 29th of December, 2019.

Virgin A340
The A340’s retirement has been postponed again. Photo: Alex Beltyukov via Wikimedia

A stay of execution for the A340

Virgin had originally earmarked the A340 to exit the fleet on the 26th of October this year. However, it began appearing on schedules beyond this date in mid-September. At the time, it turned out that the reason for delaying the exit of the A340 was due to issues with the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines on the Boeing 787.

At the time, a Norwegian 787 had suffered an uncontained engine failure, an issue which saw Rolls Royce drop everything to lend support to the affected airline. As such, the return of the fixed 787 engines to Virgin Atlantic, who have a number of their 787s currently grounded, was pushed back.

Virgin A340 taking off
Virgin’s A340s will be with us a little longer. Photo: Adrian Pingstone via Wikimedia

Now it seems that they are still waiting for those engines to return, or at least some of them, as the airline is holding on to the A340 for a little while longer. The stay of execution for Virgin’s A340-600s was noted by Manchester Airport News and shared in a tweet yesterday.

According to the source, the A340 has been scheduled on services to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport on the 14th, 21st and 22nd December. The airport news noted that other routes could be added too.

How much longer will the A340 be with us?

According to Airlineroute, a good few weeks actually. It seems that the A340-600 has been scheduled into service until 29th December inclusive.

Virgin A340
Virgin was originally retiring the A340 at the end of October. Photo: Bill Larkins via Wikimedia

This final date is further supported by Toby’s Aviation, who confirmed the 29th as the exit date of the ionic quad jet.

However, Toby’s Aviation went a step further, in so much as it provided an explanation for why this has happened. According to their tweet, the reason Virgin is delaying the retirement of the type is due to ongoing issues with the Rolls Royce Trent 1000s that power its Dreamliners.

Simple Flying reached out to Virgin for official confirmation of this but is yet to receive a response.

Are you pleased to see these four-engined birds around for a bit longer? Will you try to fly on one of Virgin’s last A340 routes? Let us know in the comments.