Virgin Atlantic names A330neo in honour of Sir Richard Branson – Business Traveller

Virgin Atlantic has kickstarted its 40th birthday celebrations with a new aircraft featuring a name and icon in honour of the airline’s founder Sir Richard Branson.

The carrier launched on 22 June, 1984, with its inaugural service being between London and New York.

To celebrate Virgin has named its latest A330neo ‘Ruby Rebel’ as a nod to its founder, and has also created a new icon which appears towards the front of the aircraft “inspired by Sir Richard and the rebellious spirit that’s always driven Virgin Atlantic to do things differently”.

The carrier’s fifth A330neo – registration G-VSRB – will enter service in May.

Virgin said that the icon “includes nods to Sir Richard’s career and famed business ventures throughout its design, such as Virgin Records pin badges, a Tubular Bells charm bracelet, a Virgin Galactic rocket on the belt’s buckle and a Virgin Voyages anchor on the icon’s boot”.

Meanwhile the punk styling “reflects the airline’s iconic Vivienne Westwood uniform, which is still rocked by its cabin crew today”.

Virgin launched the icon series in 2019 – replacing the previous Flying Lady which was depicted on aircraft fuselages, which itself had been inspired by ship figureheads and based on the pin up girls made famous by painter Alberto Vargas.

Virgin Atlantic to replace Flying Lady with new icons “representing modern Britain”

Commenting on the news Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic founder and president, 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.”

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