Richard Branson as Virgin Atlantic turns 40: "I went against everybody's advice" with rebel airline

Virgin Atlantic is paying tribute to its found Sir Richard Branson by naming an aircraft in his honour - as the airline he was warned not to set up, celebrates turning 40
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Ruby Rebel is the airline’s newest Airbus A330neo named in honour of Richard Branson. It will feature Virgin Atlantic's new flying icon and registration G-VSRB as the firm celebrates its 40th birthday on June 22, 2024.  The airline’s fifth Airbus A330neo will enter service from May - inspired by what the firm describes as a rebellious spirit that’s always driven Virgin Atlantic to do things differently.

The icon, whose features are inspired by Richard's daughter 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 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 worn by its cabin crew today. 

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  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.” 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.  It was the first airline to introduce seat back TVs, the Premium cabin and fleet wide Wi-Fi

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