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Virgin Atlantic 40th Birthday - Aircraft Named After Sir Richard Branson


Virgin Atlantic, the airline founded by Sir Richard Branson, is celebrating its 40th anniversary by naming its latest aircraft, Ruby Rebel (registration G-VSRB), after him. This fifth Airbus A330neo will begin operating in May and features a new flying icon inspired by Sir Richard's rebellious spirit that has always encouraged Virgin Atlantic to approach things differently. The airline is paying tribute to Sir Richard Branson and marking four decades of innovation in the travel industry.



The icon's design takes inspiration from Holly Branson's features and incorporates various elements related to Sir Richard's successful career and business ventures. The design includes Virgin Records pin badges, a charm bracelet with Tubular Bells, a rocket from Virgin Galactic on the belt's buckle, and an anchor from Virgin Voyages on the boot. Additionally, a bracelet with the letters J, S, and H is included as a sweet gesture to his wife Joan and children Holly and Sam. The punk styling of the icon is inspired by the iconic Vivienne Westwood uniform of the airline, which is still worn by its cabin crew today.



Virgin Atlantic has always been committed to doing things differently, and the Ruby Rebel symbolizes this commitment. In June 1984, the airline's first aircraft, Maiden Voyager, took off from London to New York, introducing a flash of red to the skies. Virgin Atlantic's primary goal has always been to provide a unique customer experience. They were the first airline to introduce seatback TVs, premium cabins, and fleet-wide Wi-Fi, and they continue to challenge the norm. Virgin Atlantic has also flown the world's first Pride flight and the first 100% SAF transatlantic flight.



Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, commented, “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 forty 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.”



“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." Sir Richard Branson said, “Virgin Atlantic was created to provide a bright red, fun, friendly, fabulous choice that made flying better for everyone. In 1984, we worked out all the things we could do differently, from our planes to our Clubhouses to 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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