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Virgin cancels long-dormant A380 order

Virgin Atlantic has finally cancelled its order for six Airbus A380s, the airframer's latest backlog data shows.

Airbus has listed a cancellation of six of the double-deck type in its figures covering the first two months of this year.

Virgin Atlantic had six A380s on order, but Airbus no longer lists these aircraft against the UK airline.

The carrier had been among the first A380 customers, originally signing for the Rolls-Royce Trent 900-powered jets in 2001.

But it has repeatedly postponed deliveries – the jets were supposed to have been handed to the airline in 2006 – and Virgin Atlantic has since amended its fleet plans to include long-haul twinjets such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350-1000.

Virgin Atlantic has confirmed the A380 cancellation.

"Following a thorough review of our fleet we have taken the decision not to pursue our order for six Airbus A380," says the carrier.

It says it is "in discussions" to acquire additional A350-1000s, as it prepares to introduce the first of its current batch of 12 from spring next year.

"We believe the A350-1000 will best serve our customers and network, and will enable us continue reducing the carbon emissions from our fleet, through our ongoing investment in quieter, more fuel efficient aircraft," it adds.

Airbus has lifted the A380 backlog, however, with the inclusion of 20 firm aircraft for Emirates.

These take total A380 orders to 331 of which 222 have been delivered, leaving 109 still to be produced.

Airbus is aiming to deliver 12 A380s this year but is intending to cut production of the A380 to just six aircraft per year from 2020.

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