New Virgin Atlantic aircraft to honour Sir Richard Branson

Virgin Atlantic will pay homage to its founder by naming its latest aircraft in his honour.

Ruby Rebel, which will enter service from May, will salute Sir Richard Branson and mark 40 years since the launch of Virgin Atlantic.

The airline’s fifth Airbus A330neo will also feature a new flying icon inspired by Branson and the “rebellious spirit” that has “driven Virgin Atlantic to do things differently”.

The icon include nods to Branson’s career and business ventures, 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.

Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic chief executive, said: “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.”

Branson 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.”

Virgin Atlantic launched in June 1984 when its first aircraft, Maiden Voyager, departed London for New York.

Branson said the “rebellious spirit” that has embodied the airline since its creation will “continue to drive us forward as we shake up the aviation industry for the next 40 years and beyond”.

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