Virgin Atlantic, under pressure from the Coronavirus has withdrawn the last three A340-600’s. The original date was January 6, but they remained in service because of ongoing issues with the 787-9 Rolls Royce Trent-1000 engines. Indeed they were scheduled up to late May and early June.
G-VNAP was pulled out of service in mid-February and placed in warm storage at Gatwick, and over the past few days G-VFIT and G-VWIN have also been withdrawn from service. They haven’t yet been fully decommissioned but sources tell me they are extremely unlikely to return to service. The current airline crisis is expected to last months.
Virgin Atlantic and other airlines are saying they’re forced to operate empty flights to maintain 80% slot utilisation by the EU authorities, under the use it or loose it policy. The EU and IATA declined to drop the requirement only a few days ago, but pressure is again growing. It’s a waste of money when airlines are struggling, and creates unnecessary pollution.