Virgin Atlantic (VS, London Heathrow) has announced it will start a gradual phase-out of its B747-400s shortly and plans to conclude operations of the type by 2021.

The British airline will be replacing its Boeing quadjets with A350-1000s. It plans to take the first unit of the latter type in "late summer" 2019 and then a further three by the end of the year. It has eight on firm order with Airbus and has ordered a further four from lessors.

Virgin plans to debut the A350-1000s on its trunk London Heathrow-New York JFK route.

According to the ch-aviation fleets module, Virgin Atlantic owns three of its eight B747-400s. The remaining five are dry-leased from GECAS. The aircraft are between 18 and 23 years old.