The first Virgin Atlantic service to New York (c) Steve Fitzgerald
Richard Branson’s revolutionary airline, Virgin Atlantic, which was first conceived after he chartered an aircraft in the Caribbean to rescue the travel plans of himself and fellow passengers following a flight cancellation, is now 30 years old.
Richard was caught up in the idea of setting up a new airline arm to his Virgin empire, and soon took delivery of a Boeing 747 to start low fare flights from London Gatwick to New York on 22 June 1984. Passengers would experience staff hired for their fresh outlook on service, and flights with better entertainment and food options.
It would grow to become a major player in long haul travel, both from Gatwick and Heathrow airports. It also opened Virgin Atlantic Little Red, a low-cost domestic airline, in 2013.
Virgin operates a fleet of Airbus A340 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft, but it has been looking to upgrade with more fuel efficient aircraft.
The airline has been considering what to do about its Airbus A380 order since it deferred delivery, and will make a decision soon.
However, Virgin is due to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 aircraft later this year and, to coincide with its 30th anniversary, has announced that the first route of the type will be from London Heathrow to Boston Logan, starting on 28th October.
It is likely the aircraft will be used on crew familiarisation sectors before then, possibly on the Little Red network. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear.