Virgin Atlantic’s aging Airbus A340s will keep flying for a while longer

Virgin Atlantic’s aging Airbus A340-600 aircraft will live to see another few weeks, including on flights from London to New York. The original plan had been to retire them next month as the airline’s newest jet, the A350 sporting the new Upper Class seats, comes online.

Virgin has changed its plan to phase out the fuel-guzzling, four-engined aircraft on October 26. Virgin’s A340-600s are now scheduled to stay in service until December 8.

As of September 15, the aircraft only operates on the airline’s New York and Delhi routes, with schedule as follows:

Delhi — 29 October – 31 October

  • VS300 London Heathrow (LHR) 9:40 p.m. Departure ⇒ Delhi (DEL) 10:45 a.m. Arrival
  • VS301 Delhi (DEL) 12:30 p.m. Departure ⇒ London Heathrow (LHR) 5:35 a.m. Arrival

New York — 26 October

  • VS3 London Heathrow (LHR) 9:00 a.m. Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 11:55 a.m. Arrival
  • VS4 New York (JFK) 6:00 p.m. Departure ⇒ London Heathrow (LHR) 6:25 a.m. Arrival

New York — 27 October

  • VS3 London Heathrow (LHR) 8:45 a.m. Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 12:45 p.m. Arrival
  • VS4 New York (JFK) 7:30 p.m. Departure ⇒ London Heathrow (LHR) 6:30 a.m. Arrival

New York — 27 October – 8 December

  • VS45 London Heathrow (LHR) 2:30 p.m. Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 5:25 p.m. Arrival
  • VS46 New York (JFK) 9:00 p.m. Departure ⇒ London Heathrow (LHR) 9:15 a.m. Arrival

Selected dates between 27 October and 5 November and the 19 November, VS46 operates as VS138

New York — 29 October

  • VS9 London Heathrow (LHR) 3:45 p.m. Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 6:45 p.m. Arrival
  • VS10 New York (JFK) 10:00 p.m. Departure ⇒ London Heathrow (LHR) 10:15 a.m. Arrival

The above schedule is accurate at the time of publication as per the airline’s website, though it is subject to change.

In a statement to TPG, the airline said: “We’re always reviewing our fleet, and timelines around aircraft retirement are always subject to change in order to give us greater flexibility for our customers”.

This delay in A340 retirement is likely a repercussion of the ongoing issues the airline has had with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines on its 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

Featured photo: a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340 lands at Heathrow Airport, by Steve Parsons – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images