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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Virgin Atlantic Is Celebrating 40 Years!


In the year that Virgin Atlantic turns 40, the airline will pay homage to its founder, Sir Richard Branson, by naming its latest state of the art aircraft in his honour. Ruby Rebel, registration G-VSRB, will salute Sir Richard and mark 40 years of Virgin Atlantic shaking up the travel industry.


The airline’s fifth Airbus A330neo, which will enter service from May, will also feature a brand-new flying icon, inspired by Sir Richard and the rebellious spirit that’s always driven Virgin Atlantic to do things differently.


The icon, whose features are inspired by Holly Branson, include 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 icons boot.


Another bracelet featuring the letters J, S, and H have been designed as a sweet gesture to his wife Joan and children Holly and Sam. The icon’s punk styling reflects the airline’s iconic Vivienne Westwood uniform, which is still rocked by its cabin crew today.


Ruby Rebel symbolises Virgin Atlantic’s desire to do things differently, beginning in June 1984, when its first aircraft, Maiden Voyager, departed London for New York, bringing a flash of red to the skies.


The airline’s focus has always been to deliver the best customer experience in a brilliantly different way.


From being the first airline to introduce seat back TVs, the Premium cabin and fleet wide Wi-Fi, to flying the first world’s first Pride flight and the first 100% SAF transatlantic flight, Virgin Atlantic and its people continue to challenge the status quo.


Shai Weiss, CEO 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.”


Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic Founder and President, commented, “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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