10:34 PM

Four More Years.

The BBC reported Friday that Virgin Atlantic is deferring its order for the new Airbus A380 by four years. The airline had ordered six of the new superjumbos for delivery in 2009, but now wants to delay their arrival till 2013.

Virgin is now extending its leases on a number of Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets to cover the delay. And while still flying they –47s, Virgin plans to monitor the A380 to see if can prove itself in commercial service before it puts its own A380s into operation.

This is just more bad news for the A380 program that hit the ground running but has since been slowed by a number of delays.

BBC also reported these orders held by Airbus:

Emirates: 43 aircraft
Lufthansa: 15
Qantas: 12
Air France: 10
Singapore Airlines: 10
Fedex: 10
International Lease Finance: 10
UPS: 10
Thai Airways: 6
Virgin Atlantic: 6
Korean Air Lines: 5
Etihad Airways: 4
Qatar Airways: 2
China Southern Airlines: 5
Kingfisher Airlines: 5
Malaysia Airlines: 6
Source: Airbus
I think taking a “wait-and-see” approach to the A380 is a smart move by Virgin. But by the time they actually load passengers aboard the behemoth Airbus and fly it somewhere, they might also be offering people rides in space through their sister company, Virgin Galactic.

Man, these are exciting times to be an aviation writer. I just typed that very soon, we’ll see commercial space travel. Makes an aviator’s head want to explode.

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