Virgin Atlantic expects to decide soon on a type to replace its Airbus A340-600s and Boeing 747-400s as part of its drive to phase out four-engined aircraft.

The airline is introducing Airbus A330-300s and - from summer 2014 - Boeing 787-9s to replace some of its A340s and is examining potential replacements for the rest of its larger widebodies.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway told Flightglobal's Airline Business magazine in the November issue cover interview that the airline is "rapidly moving out of four-engined aircraft - we have to do that because of where we seeing fuel costs going".

He says Virgin has had a request for proposals out with the manufacturers "for some time now" and is examining the options. "We will make a decision relatively soon about what we replace our remaining A340-600s and 747-400s with," he adds.

Ridgway envisages deliveries will take place in the 2015-2020 timescale, depending on the lease returns of its current fleet. Types under evaluation include the A350-900 and -1000, and various Boeing alternatives including the 777-300ER and proposed new developments.

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Source: Air Transport Intelligence news