UK long-haul carrier Virgin Atlantic has canceled the six Airbus A380s that it originally ordered in 2001.

Speaking to ATW at a media briefing in London on March 7, Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger confirmed that the much-postponed A380 commitment was canceled “within the last couple of weeks.”

Kreeger said the firm order was previously downgraded to options as part of the order negotiations for another type—possibly as part of an earlier A330 deal.

“We have cancelled our options on the A380,” Kreeger said. “We just can’t find enough markets that made sense for an aircraft that big and it didn’t make sense to take just one or two because of fleet complexity.”

The Virgin Atlantic A380s have already been removed from Airbus’ latest backlog figures. Airbus noted the six A380 cancellations in its February orders tally, but did not provide details on the customer.

Virgin Atlantic has 12 A350-1000s on order, which will start delivering in spring 2019. These aircraft will be used to replace the airline’s remaining A340s and Boeing 747s over the next three years, taking Virgin Atlantic to a fleet of A330s, 787s and A350s.

Airbus recently took the decision to more than halve A380 production from 2.5 aircraft per month to just one, as the manufacturer continues to struggle to secure additional sales for its largest aircraft.


Victoria Moores