Updated: Oct 14, 2020
At 15:04 on Tuesday 24 March 2020, The Airbus A340-600 G-VWIN "Lady Luck" touched down on a positioning flight to Bournemouth airport. This marked something of a momentous occasion – as it would be the final flight for this trusty workhorse of Virgin Atlantic.
We invite you to view a gallery of Virgin A340's Fleet, with the courtesy of all photographers who participated at this commemorative gallery :
Virgin intended to retire our remaining A340s from the fleet early this year as part of fleet transformation plan: The 787 joined its fleet between 2014-2018, A350 deliveries are now well underway, and the A330neo will join the fleet from late 2021 to complete the modernisation of the entire fleet over a ten-year period. The result will be one of the youngest fleets in the skies, halving our average aircraft age by 2024 to just 5.3 years and reducing our carbon emissions by 32 percent. With the recent developments into response of the global impact of Covid-19 it made sense to bring forward retiring the A340s from service, so G-VFIT "Dancing Queen" made its final passenger flight earlier in March, and have moved to a new home in Bournemouth last week, along with G-VNAP "Sleeping Beauty" and G-VWIN "Lady Luck", both of which had also touched down there earlier that day. You may still get to see them in the sky, flying charters for their new owner. These latest three A340s, together spent close to 180,000 hours in the sky over more than 21,000 flights during their time in the Virgin Atlantic fleet.
Ironically, in all her years flying with us, Lady Luck never made it to Las Vegas. We took delivery of our first A340-300, G-VBUS Lady in Red, back in April 1993.
Virgin are the launch customer for the longer A340-600, flying the first ever commercial service on the type in August 2002. At the time the A340-600 joined us, it was the longest commercial aeroplane in the skies (the Boeing 747-8 later stole the title by just 93cm).
Ten A340-300s and 19 A340-600s have graced the Virgin Atlantic fleet in total, traveling the length and breadth of our network and indeed the globe, from New York to Sydney – and many places in between. One of them even scored a cameo role in the 2006 Bond film, Casino Royale! (you can read all about our association with James Bond here)
Back in the 90s we adopted the #4Engines4Longhaul slogan for the fleet, which was the style at the time. However, as newer, more efficient twin-engine aircraft entered the scene, our quad-engine fleet became more expensive to run – and created higher carbon emissions. And while some of our customers continue to maintain an almost fanatical admiration for them, many others prefer to fly on other aircraft (exacerbated by the incredible experience our new A350s offer). But you can’t deny there’s a certain charm and charisma about the A340 that many of us are so fond of.
In 2018 we actually brought one back from retirement. Sleeping Beauty Rejuvenated re-entered service after a couple of years in storage, giving our people and customers more time to enjoy her. We won’t be able to do that again, but you can read all about her story, and that of the “A Big Virgin Atlantic Thank You” that you may have seen on her here. So, on behalf of the many millions of passengers and pets who flew on them and the pilots, engineers, cabin crew and airport teams who knew this graceful and elegant flying machine so well; Thank you and Godspeed, old friend!
Our A340 fleet:
G-VFIT Airbus A340-642 "Dancing Queen"
G-VYOU Airbus A340-642 "Emmeline Heaney"
G-VRED Airbus A340-642 "Scarlet Lady"
G-VWEB Airbus A340-642 "Surfer Girl"
G-VNAP Airbus A340-642 "Sleeping Beauty Rejuvenated"
G-VAEL Airbus A340-300 "Maiden Toulouse"
G-VBUS Airbus A340-300 "Lady in Red"
G-VFLY Airbus A340-300 "Dragon Lady"
G-VHOL Airbus A340-300 "Jetstreamer"
G-VSEA Airbus A340-300 "Plane Sailing"
G-VSKY Airbus A340-300 "China Girl"
G-VAIR Airbus A340-300 "Maiden Tokyo"
G-VELD Airbus A340-300 "African Queen"
G-VFAR Airbus A340-300 "Molly"
G-VSUN Airbus A340-300 "Rainbow Lady"
G-VATL Airbus A340-600 "Miss Kitty"
G-VBLU Airbus A340-600 "Soul Sister"
G-VBUG Airbus A340-600 "Lady Bird"
G-VEIL Airbus A340-600 "Queen of the Skies"
G-VFIZ Airbus A340-600 "Bubbles"
G-VFOX Airbus A340-600 "Silver Lady"
G-VGAS Airbus A340-600 "Varga Girl"
G-VGOA Airbus A340-600 "Indian Princess"
G-VMEG Airbus A340-600 "Mystic Maiden"
G-VOGE Airbus A340-600 "Cover Girl"
G-VSHY Airbus A340-600 "Madame Butterfly"
G-VSSH Airbus A340-600 "Sweet Dreamer"
G-VWKD Airbus A340-600 "Miss Behavin"