Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Virgin Atlantic Airways
Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., usually referred to as Virgin Atlantic, is an airline that operates intercontinental flights from the United Kingdom. It is the flagship organization of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, operating a fleet of wide-body aircraft on long-haul routes between London and North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Australia.
Virgin's predecessor, British Atlantic Airways, operated flights from the UK to the Falkland Islands starting in 1982. Branson purchased the airline and began flights to North America on June 22, 1984, utilizing a single Boeing 747 on scheduled service between London Gatwick and Newark, taking over the small market share of Freddie Laker's failed "Skytrain" operation.
Virgin has always been a competitor and rival of British Airways. Early in its life, Virgin was involved in a libel suit against BA over an allegation of "dirty tricks". BA was faced with a legal bill of up to £3m, damages to Sir Richard of £500,000 and a further £110,000 to his airline. In the 1990s, Virgin Atlantic jets sported the words "No-Way BA/AA" in opposition to the attempted merger between British Airways and American Airlines. In 1997, following British Airways' announcement that it was to remove the Union Jack from its tailfins in favour of world images, Virgin took advantage of the controversy provoked by introducing a union flag design on the winglets of its aircraft, and changed the red dress on the "Scarlet Lady" on the nose of its aircraft to the union flag also.
In August 2002, Virgin became the first airline to begin flights with the Airbus A340-600. The airline also has six Airbus A380s on order and due to be delivered in 2006. In August, Virgin ordered 13 more A340-600s, with options for 13 more. Rolls-Royce have won all recent engine competitions for Virgin aircraft; the company's Trent will power the A340s and A380s on order.
- South Africa
- People's Republic of China
- United Kingdom
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Saint Lucia
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States
- New Jersey
- New York
Virgin operates Boeing 747 and Airbus A340 aircraft. In November 2003 Virgin introduced the Upper Class Suite, which is the longest totally flat bed in Business Class. The Upper Class Suite is fitted on all A340-600 and 747-400 aircraft. Approximately half of the A340-300 aircraft in the Virgin Atlantic fleet will have Suites fitted during 2005, whilst the remaining aircraft will either be sold or retired. The airline is known for its passenger service: Upper Class passengers can avail themselves of massage services in-flight, and can also request complimentary limousine pick-up and drop-off at the airport. Unlike most international carriers, Virgin gives free personal kits, including toothbrush, pen, earplugs, eyemask, and headphones, to passengers in all three classes. Virgin also pioneered seat-back personal TVs in all classes, and are currently upgrading all their aircraft to a Audio/Video on Demand (AVOD) system called V:Port.
Virgin Atlantic has ordered 6 Airbus A380 aircraft with options on 6 more. The first delivery is expected to enter service in March 2008 and the aircraft will be used on services from London to Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Tokyo. The option of using the A380 on charter services, eg Orlando, is being explored (ref: Airliner World, March 2005).
Virgin's aircraft are christened with female names such as "Ladybird", "Island Lady", and "Ruby Tuesday". Many are named after destinations on the Virgin route network, such as "Maiden Tokyo" and "California Girl". Virgin's fleet also has several tongue in cheek registrations, California Girl is G-VLAX, after Los Angeles International. Boston Belle is G-VJFK after Massachusetts' famous son, others include G-VIRG, G-VGIN and G-VXLG for a 747-400.
The current Virgin livery features a pinup girl near the nose of each aircraft called the "Scarlet Lady", carrying a Union Jack flag in a form remniscient of British Airways' traditional "speedbird" logo.
- Gregory, Martyn. Dirty Tricks: British Airways' Secret War Against Virgin Atlantic. New York: Virgin, 2000. ISBN 0753504588
- Virgin America
- Virgin Blue
- Virgin Express
- Virgin Galactic
- Virgin Nigeria
- Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details