Virgin Atlantic To Retire All Boeing 747s Immediately

Virgin Atlantic has accelerated the retirement of its remaining seven Boeing 747-400s, due to the current crisis.


Virgin Atlantic To Retire All Boeing 747s Immediately
Virgin Atlantic To Retire All Boeing 747s Immediately

The superjumbos were initially set to be retired in 2021. However, the airline has brought it forward as an effort to resize its business. This news comes as little surprise as airlines are opting for more fuel-efficient aircraft.




Virgin Atlantic has revealed plans to reshape and resize its business, in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy.

However, the airline will keep its four Airbus A330-200s in service, with plans to retire them in early 2022 or before that.

Virgin Atlantic To Retire All Boeing 747s Immediately
Initially, they were planned to be retired in 2021 Photo: Virgin Atlantic




In a statement sent to Aero World, the airline said:

"As Virgin Atlantic aims to establish itself as the sustainability leader, it will fly only wide-body, twin-engine aircraft from London Heathrow and Manchester to the most popular destinations. It will be moving its flying programme from London Gatwick to London Heathrow."

"From today, Virgin Atlantic will no longer use all of its seven Boeing 747-400s, with four Airbus A330-200s retiring in early 2022 as planned."



After the retirement of the Boeing 747s and Airbus A330s, Virgin's fleet will be comprised of modern fuel-efficient twin-jets, with the likes of Airbus A350-1000s, Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A330-300s.

Virgin Atlantic To Retire All Boeing 747s Immediately
After this retirement, Virgin will have twin-jets only Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Regarding efficiency and CO2 emission, the airline said:

"By 2022 the simplified, greener fleet will comprise of 36 twin engine aircraft reducing CO2/RTK emissions by an estimated further 10% building on the 18% efficiency already achieved between 2007-2019."




These Boeing 747 has an average age of 20 years. G-VAST, the oldest one is 22 years old whereas, the youngest G-VROY is just 18 years old.

One of these Boeing 747s wears a special Star Wars livery promoting the new Galaxy's Edge attraction at Florida's Walt Disney World.

Virgin Atlantic To Retire All Boeing 747s Immediately
One of these 747s is in Stat Wars Special livery Photo: Virgin Atlantic

One of these seven Boeing 747-400s, G-VROS operated its final flight from Los Angeles to London Heathrow on 30th March, which is probably the last Virgin Boeing 747 commercial flight.




Currently, five of these 747s are at Manchester Airport whereas one is at London Heathrow and one in Glasgow.

Virgin Atlantic operated its first commercial flight on a Boeing 747-200 with registration G-VIRG on 22nd of June 1984. The aircraft was named "Maiden Voyager" and it remained with the airline until 2001, according to Planespotters.

Virgin has operated a total of 30 Boeing 747s since then, making it the most used individual aircraft type. Virgin has operated three variants of the Boeing 747.



Virgin Atlantic To Retire All Boeing 747s Immediately
Virgin Atlantic has operated a total of 30 Boeing 747s Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Out of 30 aircraft, 16 were Boeing 747-200s, 13 were Boeing 747-400s and one was Boeing 747-100.

Along with this, Virgin Atlantic is planning to cut upto a third of its workforce of 10,000 people as well as the closure of its operations at London Gatwick Airport.




Virgin Atlantic To Retire All Boeing 747s Immediately
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747s will be missed Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Have you ever flown on a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747? Feel free to share in the comments below:


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