Virgin Atlantic’s new aircraft honours founder Sir Richard Branson

Virgin Atlantic has named a plane in honour of founder Sir Richard Branson to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its first flight.

The airline announced its new Airbus A330neo aircraft has been named Ruby Rebel and has the registration G-VSRB.

The carrier said artwork depicting a woman on the jet’s nose is “inspired by Sir Richard and the rebellious spirit that’s always driven Virgin Atlantic to do things differently”.

Sir Richard Branson promoting Virgin Atlantic
Sir Richard Branson promoting Virgin Atlantic in 1984 (PA)

Virgin Atlantic’s first flight operated from London Gatwick to New York on June 22 1984.

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.”

The tail of the new plane
The tail of the new plane (Virgin Atlantic/PA)

“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.”

Sir Richard’s Virgin Group owns 51% of Virgin Atlantic, with the remaining 49% owned by Delat Air Lines.

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