|Airbus SE A380 super-jumbo|
Following widespread industry speculation, and the move to single aisle and smaller wide bodied jets, it's been announced that Virgin Atlantic Airways has finally pulled the order for six Airbus SE A380 super-jumbos.
It took some detective work as the deletion discreetly appeared in Airbus’s February order-and-delivery note published on Wednesday, and was only confirmed by the airline after city news agencies started calling Airbus.
Virgin originally ordered the planes more than ten years ago, but as the trend is away from the four engine superjumbo style, it seemed to observers unlikely that Virgin would ever get around to actually placing a firm order.
CEO Craig Kreeger commented:"Virgin is happy with its relationship with Airbus, from which it recently agreed to buy the latest A350 twin-jet model, but that the four-engined, 550-seat A380 was “never really likely to make sense."
France-based Airbus confirmed on the same day, a reduction in A380 production output to just six units a year from 2020 reflecting a downturn in demand for this toyue of aircraft. Emirates is the only major headline customer for the plane, with most other operators accounting for around 14 in service but none of the airlines feature the superjumbo as the mainstay of their fleet offer.
Although founded by Richard Branson, Virgin is now 49percent owned by Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, while Air France / KLM Group, has agreed to buy a 31percent stake in a move that will see the billionaire’s holding reduced to 20percent.
Richard Branson is thought to have firmly held onto the Virgin logo and brand identity IP. So far, its thought, no US carrier has plans to acquire the A380.
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