The engineering and maintenance department of Virgin Atlantic is preparing its technicians for the entry-into-service of the Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.
According to Phil Wardlaw, the UK airline’s vice president engineering and maintenance services, it is running an engineering entry-into-service workstream as part of the overall A350 program, with the first of 12 aircraft set to start arriving in early-2019 as successors for its in-service A340-600s and Boeing 747-400s.
“Within that there is training, which we recently finished mapping out for technicians and certifiers,” he says. Wardlaw said Virgin Atlantic has used its experience with another new-generation aircraft coming into its fleet in the form of the Boeing 787 as a source of learning when preparing for the A350.
“On the 787, we adopted a more iterative approach prior and during its entry-into-service,” he says. “Lessons were taken from the 787 training and we will be doing more up front training for the A350. Much of this will be done in-house, while we’ll also work with Airbus and some other operators on the more practical elements of the training.”
Virgin Atlantic also still has an option in place for six A380 aircraft, which it has deferred several times since the original option was made more than a decade ago.
Wardlaw said the airline is still evaluating its future fleet requirements and as of now, the superjumbos remain as options.
Read more from Virgin Atlantic in the Airline Insight feature in October’s Inside MRO.