For 36 years the mighty Boeing 747 has been an integral part of Virgin Atlantic. Sadly, COVID-19 has meant an early departure for the iconic aircraft. Lee Cross looks back at the service of the ‘Queen of the Skies’ within the fleet and how the type has been so intrinsically linked to the airline’s success
When Virgin Atlantic Airways was founded back in 1984, there was only one aircraft that flamboyant owner Richard (later Sir Richard) Branson wanted for his airline: the iconic Boeing 747.
Branson called the American aircraft manufacturer to see if it had any second-hand jumbos for sale and, following two months of tough negations, a deal was struck to lease a single 747 that could be returned after a year, should the fledgeling company fail.