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CARST
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Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:46 am

So what are the plans at VS for renewing their fleet once their current aircraft are due to fly to the desert?

I know they have 15 787-9s on order plus some options, I assume these are to replace the A330-300s and A340-300s.

But what do they intend to replace the A340-600s and 747-400s with?


77Ws / 777-8/9s like VX? Or 747-8? A350? Or will they scale back in aircraft size and fly an all 787 fleet with the -9 and probably -10, too?

I think they need at least one aircraft for their trunk routes to Florida, the Caribbean and New york. So will they take up their A380 order? Or will it be another VLA?

Is the A380 order, not a firm order, but just a MOU? Their CEO has stated they don't have to pick up the A380s, see A380 break-even-thread.
 
BlueSky1976
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:49 am

I think they will cancel A380s and will order A350-1000s to avoid having to pay cancellation penalties.
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airsmiles
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:05 am

Why would they replace brand new A330's? The A330 replaced some of the B744's and A340's already.

I agree the A380 order looks like a prime candidate for cancellation. As for the remaining A340's and B744's they're not actually particularly old by BA long-haul fleet standards, so perhaps they'll wait and see what the B777X offers before deciding. I suppose it depends how the B787 develops within their fleet and the Delta situation. Again I don't see an urgent need to make any decisions on further fleet renewal.
 
na
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:43 am

Quoting airsmiles (Reply 2):
Why would they replace brand new A330's? The A330 replaced some of the B744's and A340's already.

Sorry, a A330 cant replace a 744, just like a 788 cant replace a 77W. Also, only one left the fleet recently when the lease ended.

I´d love to see VS ordering the 748, and keeping the A380 order, but I fear much of the fleet in 2025 will be consisting of those utterly boring mass-products A350-1000 or 777X.
 
hotplane
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:47 am

I wonder how much VS spent on that huge A380 hangar at LHR?
?
 
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EK413
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:04 am

I believe all your questions will be answered here...

Virgin Atlantic's Future Plans For Its Fleet (by Thrust Feb 4 2011 in Civil Aviation)

I suspect the B744 fleet ain't going anywhere anytime soon...

Back in February 2010 work began on a complex refit programme for our 747 fleet and thanks to a huge amount of hard work and determination, we reached a significant milestone in November as Ruby Tuesday (G-VXLG) our seventh and final 747 to undergo a refit has returned.

Sporting new seats, galleys, toilets, state of the art touch screen entertainment system (Vera Touch) and with eXphone functionality fully enabled, our new and improved 747 fleet guarantees an outstanding inflight experience.

http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/us...tnews/newinflightentertainment.jsp

EK413
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CARST
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:14 am

As they have 15+8 789s on order, which should be coming on from lae 2014 onward, I think we can expect the four-holers (at least A340s) to leave the fleet on a 1-per-1 basis. The A333s might be new, but does it make sense to operate 789 and A333? Seems like the 789 is the perfect replacement with about the same floorspace.

Don't know about the 747s, just to large for the 789, but to small for the A380, especially if the 747s can not be filled on all routes, which seems to be the case going by the statements regarding their A380 order.

So there has to be a long-term plan. Not now, not in two years, but which aircraft will they get in 5-10 years? 777-9? 748? A380? Or reduction in size and increase of frequencies (LHR?!)? Can't imagine VS just flying 787-9 and -10. And VX is successful with the 77W.

My guess: 787-9/787-10/777-9. Possible.
 
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817Dreamliiner
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:27 am

Quoting na (Reply 3):

Actually, it can... VS are changing its equipment on some caribbean routes from the 747 to the A330 from this winter season. Im sure the A330 has replaced the 744 on other routes as well. For some reason you always assume they mean direct replacement.

Also you dont need to re hash your hate for twin engine aircraft on every thread...
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jfk777
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:58 pm

Virgin Atlantic's A340 are leavng the fleet and being replaced by A330-300 currently. The 744 have been refitted with new cabins so they will be around a few more years. 787-9 are a few years away. The 64K question is what will happen to the A380 order ? 777-9 would be very nice for Virgin.
 
rutankrd
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:10 pm

Virgin Atlantic have parked up/returned to lesser 6 no A343 and 4 no A346 (some were over weight early models) and replaced these with the 10 A333
They have also removed one leisure fleet 744 being sold and leased to Orient Thai

From winter 2013 two A333 models currently with leisure fleet are scheduled to be refurbished and converted to match the current 3 class fleet at LHR. (A third aircraft is to be transferred to LHR this spring !) - They will then transfer to LHR releasing a further two A346 from the fleet.

As result Leisure fleet will contract for winter 2013/2014 and Man-Las is expected to be suspended.

Those A333 are likely to remain on strength serving the East Coast and Africa for some considerable time

The dateline for those 789 remains an unknown - there isn't even one in existence let alone a test programme !

That said when they do come on line they will replace the remaining 17 A340 models -there may even be a contraction of one frame !

Had VS wanted to can those six A388 they have now had plenty of time- I believe they will be delivered and will replace the remaining LHR 744s plus one spare.

I have said before that I see VS Holidays (sold or transferred to VIrgin Group in entirety) and associated leisure fleet vulnerable to being sold off for cash with the renewed equity stake.

Suffice to say I see see little if any evidential growth (expansion)- Just a steady and planned replacement strategy.
 
INFINITI329
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:36 pm

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 9):
I have said before that I see VS Holidays (sold or transferred to VIrgin Group in entirety) and associated leisure fleet vulnerable to being sold off for cash with the renewed equity stake.

So who owns it now?
 
rutankrd
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:55 pm

Complex balance of VS and Virgin Group.

Remember VS is not a wholly owned subsidiary of Virgin Group. 49% of other equity partners.

Virgin Holidays were bought by Virgin Group out of a company called Travel City Direct that was also part the failed UK division of XL.
The brand remains along with Virgin Holidays selling packages with VS leisure fleet to Orlando and Las Vegas.

There is actually no reason why they need to use VS for those flights to MCO or LAS from Manchester as they could easily consolidate with dedicated charters such as TCX or TOM.
 
ManchesterMAN
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:25 pm

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 11):
There is actually no reason why they need to use VS for those flights to MCO or LAS from Manchester as they could easily consolidate with dedicated charters such as TCX or TOM.

Indeed. They have done this before of course. The BD MAN-LAS flight was started with strong support from Virgin Holidays
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ytz
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:21 pm

I don't see why VS wouldn't can the A380 and get 15 A350-1000s anyway. Good upgrade path for the 333/343. More lift, same range.

Add to that the 15 789s. For the long routes.

And then some 748s to replace the 744s.
 
musapapaya
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:55 pm

Quoting EK413 (Reply 5):
Back in February 2010 work began on a complex refit programme for our 747 fleet and thanks to a huge amount of hard work and determination, we reached a significant milestone in November as Ruby Tuesday (G-VXLG) our seventh and final 747 to undergo a refit has returned.

Huge amount of hard work and determination..... these will be done with a D check right? What hard work and determination they are talking about?
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TC957
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:25 pm

The leisure fleet all went to Xiamen one by one last year for a big interior upgrading that cost over £1m per aircraft and took about 3 - 4 weeks a time. Think that's what the hard work and determination is being referred to here.
 
SonomaFlyer
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:35 pm

Quoting musapapaya (Reply 14):
Huge amount of hard work and determination..... these will be done with a D check right? What hard work and determination they are talking about?

The article was cited above, please read it. http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/us...tnews/newinflightentertainment.jsp

Given the time involved, this work involved a cabin refit, new IFE and communications system as well as whatever maintenance was required at the time which was likely a C or D check.
 
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lightsaber
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:00 pm

Quoting na (Reply 3):
Sorry, a A330 cant replace a 744, just like a 788 cant replace a 77W.

I suspect VS will rationalize their fleet and down-gauge. The emergence of competing hubs means a shift in tactics for VS. As noted:

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 9):

Virgin Atlantic have parked up/returned to lesser 6 no A343 and 4 no A346 (some were over weight early models) and replaced these with the 10 A333

While the A333 is basically a like for like A343 replacement (thanks to the newer longer range which will continue to improve). For the four A346s, they were down-gauged and I suspect that will be VS's trend.

Quoting ytz (Reply 13):
I don't see why VS wouldn't can the A380 and get 15 A350-1000s anyway. Good upgrade path for the 333/343. More lift, same range.

I do not see VS up-gauging. I rather see them rationalizing with 744s replaced with A350-1000s as well as further A346s.


Lightsaber
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SASMD82
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:04 pm

A bit too speculative. We are talking about 744 who have got a new interior recently, about A340-600 that are not that old and about A330-300 (that are currently replacing A340-300s). What's left are the 787-9. With the current delays, it can take some time for them to enter service. By that time the 744s can be reduced to spares.

As many A-netters above me have already concluded, A359 (or A351) will eventually replace A346.
 
sevenheavy
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:04 pm

Quoting musapapaya (Reply 14):
Huge amount of hard work and determination..... these will be done with a D check right? What hard work and determination they are talking about?

No. the refits were completed independently from any MX checks. They were completed in quick succession from May-December 2012 and tool 4-6 weeks each ( they got quicker as they went along).

The refits were initially done in HKG and then in XMN.

I flew on one of these aircraft a few days ago. Very impressive IFE, comfortable seats, and as you would expect the aircraft looked brand new.

The A333 are largely replacing the A346 (4 have been retired already, 2 more in the coming months) on routes where their range and cargo capacity is not required (IAD/BOS/NYC/DEL), and also supplementing the leisure fleet to improve flexibility and frequency.

The A346 fleet will be reduced from 19 to around 10-12 to operate to LAX, HKG/SYD, JNB, PVG, NRT, MIA etc. which is where their strengths lie.

The LHR based B744 will be around for a few years until a decision is made on a replacement for the high density routes like LAX/SFO/MIA/NYC. At the moment their leases expire right around the time the A380 is due, but as mentioned above this is not a given by any means.

The leisure B744 will be around for at least another 7 years, maybe more. They are still the best aircraft for MCO, LAS and the more popular Caribbean routes.

I would expect the B789 to initially replace the remaining A343, and then the A346 on routes like PVG/NRT and possibly LAX.

Longer term they will need something with more capacity. If not the A380, then likely the A350 or B77W/X

[Edited 2013-02-28 11:13:36]
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Norcal773
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:45 pm

Whatever happened to Tinkerbelle? That was A.net user-name after I flew on it 10 years ago but changed it to Norcal eventually.
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ytz
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:54 pm

I wonder if VS would be better off skipping the 789 and going for the 7810. They clearly don't need the 789's range. And the 7810's capacity would suit them better.

I think the ideal situation for VS would be 781s, 351s and 748s.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 17):
I do not see VS up-gauging. I rather see them rationalizing with 744s replaced with A350-1000s as well as further A346s.

Why not? Operating from a slot constrained hub, I would think there's not much of a option but to upgauge.

The 787-10 in their layout may yield about 280 seats. The 351 would be at about 300 seats. The 748 would be between at about 450 pax.

This is hardly serious upgauging.
 
cv990Coronado
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:55 pm

Tinkerbell G-VBIG is still flying as far as I know. I flew her SFOLHR in J in December and she was in excellent condition.
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jwhite9185
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:32 pm

Quoting cv990coronado (Reply 22):
Tinkerbell G-VBIG is still flying as far as I know. I flew her SFOLHR in J in December and she was in excellent condition.

Yep, still around at LHR. The only 747-400 to leave the fleet so far is G-VTOP Virginia Plain.
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theaviator380
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:10 pm

By the way what's happening to those VS A340's which they will be replacing soon?

To me any decent size airline can run 77W/777-300 effectively. Looking at VS, I think A333/77W combination would work well.
 
ytz
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:56 pm

Looking further. I am wondering if VS is simply better off going to one OEM.

Boeing: 787-9, 787-10, 777-9/747-8

or

Airbus: 350-900, 350-1000, 380

Personally, I think the best combination would be 787-10s and 747-8s if VS isn't interested in upgauging much. A little bit of upgauging, but they keep the same aircraft numbers. Something like 15 781s to replace 333s and 343s, and 28-30 748s to replace 744s and 346.

Alternatively, the 351 and the 380 would allow for solid capacity expansion.

I don't see the point of the 789s for VS. It lacks the capcity to expand and VS doesn't need the range.
 
wahdadli
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:01 am

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 7):

Quoting na (Reply 3):

Actually, it can... VS are changing its equipment on some caribbean routes from the 747 to the A330 from this winter season. Im sure the A330 has replaced the 744 on other routes as well. For some reason you always assume they mean direct replacement.

Also you dont need to re hash your hate for twin engine aircraft on every thread...

Indeed they are due to an inability to fill the 744s into the caribbean.
 
skipness1E
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:58 am

Hang on, the A330s have not replaced any A343s. Six A343s were returned in recent years but they still have four active. The LHR A330s replace A346s and the beach fleet models are a down-gauge from the B744 with G-VTOP being returned. Is the VS hangar at LHR A380 capable? It doesn't appear that enormous but I could be wrong. I thought the sil height was set above B747 size. Will need to look at some of my pics.
 
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nimool
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RE: Fleet Renewal Plan For Virgin Atlantic?

Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:04 am

they recently got their A330's why would they want to replace them with another one?
What i dont want to see is VS with a A380 that will just ruin it. they should keep going pro at the same time keeping it simple  
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