Virgin Atlantic delays Airbus A340 retirement due to Boeing 787 parts shortage

Virgin Atlantic’s five Airbus A340-600s won’t be exiting the airline’s fleet at the end of October after all. According to Flightglobal, Virgin Atlantic is being forced to prolong Airbus A340 operations as a result of a parts shortage involving the A340’s replacement, the Boeing 787.

The Airbus A340-600 was originally slated to operate its final flight at Virgin Atlantic on October 26. Now, that date has been pushed back two months, according to Philip Meher, Virgin Atlantic’s executive vice president of operations.

A Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340 plane lands at Heathrow Airport in Middlesex (Photo by Steve Parsons - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
A Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340 plane lands at Heathrow Airport in Middlesex (Photo by Steve Parsons – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

The part impacted by the shortage is the Trent 1000 engine, needed for Virgin Atlantic’s fleet of Boeing 787s. Flightglobal reports that a catastrophic engine failure that impacted a Norwegian Air Boeing 787-8 following takeoff from Rome-Fiumicino in August has “temporarily affected the availability” of the engines as the incident “caused a number of engines to come out of the pool of engines to support Norwegian.”

Crews prepare a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 (Registration G-VBOW) with Rolls Royce engines at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Friday, March 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, Calif. © 2019 Patrick T. Fallon for The Points Guy
Crews prepare a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 (Registration G-VBOW) with Rolls Royce engines at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Friday, March 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, Calif. © 2019 Patrick T. Fallon for The Points Guy

Virgin Atlantic will continue to operate the Airbus A340 on flights between its hub at London-Heathrow (LHR) and New York-Kennedy (JFK) through mid-December based on the airline’s latest schedule. Upon the A340’s retirement, Virgin Atlantic will operate a fleet consisting of the Airbus A330, Airbus A350, Boeing 747, and the Boeing 787.

Featured image by Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images