16 June 2024

Virgin Atlantic Names New Aircraft in Honour of Sir Richard Branson

| The European |

Virgin Atlantic has named one of its new planes in honour of its “rebellious” founder Sir Richard Branson

The airline christened an Airbus A330neo, which will enter service in May, “Ruby Rebel” to mark its 40th anniversary this year.

Virgin said the punk-style artwork on the jet’s nose is “inspired by the rebellious spirit that’s always driven Virgin Atlantic to do things differently.”

It depicts a leaping woman – whose features resemble those of Branson’s daughter – wearing the airline’s trademark Vivienne Westwood-designed uniform.

According to Virgin, the icon is a playful nod to the billionaire career as it features a Virgin Records pin, a Virgin Galactic rocket, and a Tubular Bells charm bracelet.

Another bracelet featuring the letters J, H and S on the woman’s arm is a gesture to Richard’s wife Joan and their children Holly, 42, and Sam, 39.

Sir Richard said: “When starting Virgin Atlantic, I went against everyone’s advice – and on paper they were right.

“They knew we’d be a tiny airline against much bigger players.

“But my attitude is that if you can create something that’s better than what everybody else is offering, then you have a chance of succeeding.

“Virgin Atlantic was created to provide a bright red, fun, friendly, fabulous choice that made flying better for everyone.

“We worked out in 1984 all the things we could do differently, from our planes, our clubhouses, our in-flight experience and most importantly our people.

“Now, 40 years later that rebellious spirit lives on and will continue to drive us forward as we shake up the aviation industry for the next 40 years and beyond.”

Virgin Atlantic is one of the world’s best-known long-haul carriers, flying to 30 destinations and more than 200 cities around the world.

Its first aircraft, Maiden Voyager, flew from New York to London on June 22, 1984.

Ruby Rebel, which has the registration G-VSRB, is expected to enter service in May this year.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss added: “Forty years ago, Virgin Atlantic flew our first customers between London and New York offering something different and realising our purpose to ensure everyone can take on the world.

“As we gear up to mark our ruby anniversary in June, it’s an opportunity to look ahead to the next 40 years.

“So much has changed, but the one thing that’s remained constant is our incredible people and their unique red spirit, the red thread that keeps us flying miles above the rest.

“It all started with Richard on 22 June 1984, a pioneer with a vision to shake up the travel industry, putting people first and giving customers a choice.

“Ruby Rebel embodies the rebellious spirit that’s always driven us to do things differently. And, the best is yet to come.

Images © Virgin Atlantic

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