Virgin Atlantic

Summary

Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited
Virgin Atlantic International Limited
Virgin Atlantic logo 2018.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
VS VIR VIRGIN
Founded1984 (1984)
Commenced operations22 June 1984; 37 years ago (1984-06-22)
AOC #534 (VAA Ltd)
2435 (VAI Ltd)
Operating bases
Focus citiesEdinburgh
Frequent-flyer programFlying Club
Fleet size37
Destinations32
Parent companyVirgin Atlantic Limited
HeadquartersCrawley, England
Key people
RevenueIncrease £2.781 billion (2018)[3]
Operating incomeDecrease £-45.3 million (2018)[3]
Net incomeDecrease £-38.4 million (2018)[3]
Total assetsIncrease £1.886 billion (2018)[3]
EmployeesDecrease ~5000 (2020)[4]
Websitewww.virginatlantic.com

Virgin Atlantic, a trading name of Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited and Virgin Atlantic International Limited, is a British airline with its head office in Crawley, England. The airline was established in 1984 as British Atlantic Airways, and was originally planned by its co-founders Randolph Fields and Alan Hellary to fly between London and the Falkland Islands. Soon after changing the name to Virgin Atlantic Airways, Fields sold his shares in the company after disagreements with Richard Branson over the management of the company. The maiden flight from Gatwick Airport to Newark International Airport took place on 22 June 1984.

The airline along with Virgin Holidays is controlled by a holding company, Virgin Atlantic Limited, which is 51% owned by the Virgin Group and 49% by Delta Air Lines. It is administratively separate from other Virgin-branded airlines. Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited and Virgin Atlantic International Limited both hold Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Type A Operating Licences (AOC numbers 534[5] and 2435 respectively),[5] both of which permit these airlines, operating as Virgin Atlantic Airways, to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.[6]

Virgin Atlantic uses a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing wide-body aircraft and operates to destinations in North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia from its main base at Heathrow, and its secondary base at Manchester. The airline also operates seasonal flights from Belfast, Edinburgh,[7] and Glasgow. Virgin Atlantic aircraft consist of three cabins: Economy, Premium (formerly Premium economy)[8] and Upper Class (business).

In July 2017, Virgin Atlantic announced its intention to form a joint venture with Air France–KLM, but in December 2019, it was announced that the joint venture would not include a stake in the company.[9]

On 5 May 2020, it was announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline would lay off 3,000 staff, reduce the fleet size to 35 by the summer of 2022, retire the Boeing 747-400s[10] and would not resume operations from Gatwick following the pandemic.[11]

Virgin Atlantic filed for Chapter 15 Bankruptcy Protection in New York on 4 August 2020 as part of a £1.2 billion private refinancing package.[12][13]

History

Origins

Alan Hellary, Richard Branson, and Randolph Fields launch Virgin Atlantic at the 1984 press conference

Virgin Atlantic has its origins in a joint endeavour by Randolph Fields, an American-born lawyer, and Alan Hellary, a former chief pilot for British private airline Laker Airways. Following the collapse of Laker Airways in 1982, Field and Hellary decided to establish a new company, initially named British Atlantic Airways, as a successor.[14] Reportedly, Fields had formed a concept for an airline that would operate between London and the Falkland Islands during June 1982, when the Falklands War had just finished.[15] Seeking out expertise in the field, Fields made contact with Hellary, who had already been considering options for establishing a regular commercial service to the Falklands. In turn, Hellary was in contact with several out-of-colleagues from the collapse of Laker Airways; as such, the pair decided to refine their ambitions.

However, it was soon determined that the short runway at Port Stanley Airport, and the time it would take to improve it, would render a route to the Falklands commercially unviable, thus the idea of such a service was dropped. In its place, Hellary and Fields commenced efforts to secure a licence to operate a route between Gatwick Airport, London and John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City. During May 1983, a three-day inquiry was conducted, which chose to reject the application following objections from British Airways, British Caledonian and BAA.

Hellary and Fields then applied for a licence between Gatwick and Newark, New Jersey, using a 380-seat McDonnell Douglas DC-10.[14] However, faced with the prospect of direct competition from rival operator PEOPLExpress, a post-deregulation "no frills" discount airline based at Newark, they decided to secure more funding before proceeding. Fields met British entrepreneur Richard Branson at a party in London during which he proposed a business partnership. After protracted and testy negotiations, Fields agreed to a reduced stake of 25% in the airline (which was renamed Virgin Atlantic) and became its first chairman. Following disagreements over operations, Fields agreed to be bought out for an initial sum of £1 million with further payment on Virgin Atlantic's first dividend. As a result of a High Court action, this additional payment was received shortly before Fields' death in 1997.

Formative years

Boeing 747-200 Maiden Voyager operated the first scheduled Virgin Atlantic service on 22 June 1984

On 22 June 1984, Virgin Atlantic operated its inaugural scheduled service, flown between Gatwick and Newark using a leased Boeing 747-200 (registration G-VIRG), christened Maiden Voyager,[14] which had been formerly operated by Aerolíneas Argentinas. From the onset, its activities were augmented by leveraging existing Virgin Group resources, such as tickets being sold at Virgin Megastores record shops.[16]

Part of Richard Branson's declared approach to business is to either succeed within the first year or exit the market; this ethos includes a one-year limit being expressed upon everything associated with starting up operations.[17] Virgin Atlantic became profitable within the first 12 months, aided by sister company Virgin Records' ability to finance the lease of a secondhand Boeing 747. The firm had timed its operations to take advantage of a full summer, from June to September, which was typically the most profitable period of the year.

In November 1984 the airline launched a service between Gatwick Airport and Maastricht Aachen Airport in the Netherlands using a chartered BAC One-Eleven.[18]

In 1986 the airline added another Boeing 747 to its fleet and started a scheduled route from Gatwick to Miami. Additional aircraft were quickly acquired and new routes launched from Gatwick, such as to New York JFK in 1988, Tokyo Narita in 1989, Los Angeles in 1990, Boston in 1991, and Orlando in 1992. In 1987, Virgin Atlantic launched a service between Luton and Dublin using secondhand Vickers Viscount turboprop aircraft, but this route was withdrawn around 1990. The airline was also operating Viscount service between Maastricht and London Luton Airport in 1989.[19] During 1988, Club Air operated two Boeing 727 jet aircraft on behalf of Virgin Atlantic; these served the Luton to Dublin route until about 1990.

Competition

Airbus A340-300 landing at Kai Tak Airport, displaying the "No Way BA/AA" sticker
Airbus A340-300 at London Heathrow Airport in 2003, displaying "4 Engines 4 Longhaul" slogan

Before Virgin Atlantic started operations, British Airways had been the only airline from the United Kingdom serving long-haul routes to destinations in North America, the Caribbean, and the Far East since the BA-BCal merger in the late 1980s. In 1991, Virgin Atlantic was given permission to operate from Heathrow following the abolition of the London Air Traffic Distribution Rules (TDRs), which had governed the distribution of traffic between Heathrow and Gatwick airports since 1978, primarily to bolster the profitability of Gatwick. Airlines without an international scheduled service from Heathrow prior to 1 April 1977 were obliged to operate from Gatwick. However, airlines that did not already operate at Heathrow were still able to begin domestic scheduled services there provided BAA, which then ran both Heathrow and Gatwick on behalf of the UK government, and the Secretary of State for Transport, granted permission.

The Civil Aviation Authority also transferred two pairs of unused landing slots that British Airways held at Tokyo's Narita Airport to Virgin Atlantic; allowing it to increase frequency between Heathrow and Tokyo from four to six weekly round trips, making it easier to compete against British Airways. The then-chairman of BA Lord King called the CAA's decision, which the government had endorsed, "a confiscation of his company's property".[20]

In the year to October 1993, Virgin Atlantic declared a loss of £9.3m. The decision to abolish the London TDRs and to let Virgin Atlantic operate at Heathrow, in competition with British Airways, became the trigger for BA's so-called "dirty tricks" campaign against the company. During 1993, BA's public relations director, David Burnside, published an article in BA News, British Airways' internal magazine, which argued that Branson's protests against British Airways were a publicity stunt. Branson sued British Airways for libel, using the services of George Carman QC. BA settled out of court when its lawyers discovered the lengths to which the company had gone in trying to kill off Virgin Atlantic. British Airways had to pay a legal bill of up to £3 million, damages to Branson of £500,000, and a further £110,000 to his airline. Branson reportedly donated the proceeds from the case to Virgin Atlantic staff.[21][22]

During the 1990s, Virgin Atlantic jets were painted with "No Way BA/AA" as a declaration of its opposition to the attempted merger between British Airways and American Airlines.[23] In 1997, following British Airways' announcement that it was to remove the Union Flag from its tailfins in favour of world images, Virgin Atlantic introduced a Union Flag design on the winglets of its aircraft and changed the red dress on the Scarlet Lady on the nose of aircraft to the union flag with the tag line "Britain's Flag Carrier". This was a tongue-in-cheek challenge to BA's traditional role as the UK's flag carrier.[24]

In June 2006, US and UK competition authorities investigated alleged price fixing between Virgin Atlantic and British Airways over passenger fuel surcharges.[25] In August 2007, BA was fined £271 million by the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the US Department of Justice.[26] However, the Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, Steve Ridgway, was forced to admit that the company had been a party to the agreement, had been aware of the price-fixing and had taken no steps whatsoever to stop the price-fixing.[27] The company escaped a similar fine to that levied on British Airways only by virtue of the immunity it had earlier negotiated with the regulators.

In April 2010, a tip-off from Cathay Pacific led to an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation of alleged price-fixing between Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific on flights to Hong Kong between 2002 and 2006. Cathay Pacific received immunity from prosecution for reporting the alleged offence. A maximum fine, if found guilty, was 10% of turnover, which, based on the £2.5 billion in sales for the year to February 2009, would have been £250 million.[28] At the time, the OFT stressed that it should not be assumed that the parties involved had broken the law.[29] The OFT cleared both airlines in December 2012, concluding there were "no grounds for action".[30]

Recent years

Two Virgin Atlantic A340-600s at London Heathrow

2014

In May 2014 Virgin Atlantic ended flights to Sydney.

In September 2014 Virgin Atlantic announced plans to scrap flights to Tokyo, Mumbai, Vancouver, and Cape Town, and to codeshare transatlantic flights with Delta Air Lines; the company was also reported to be considering axing its new Little Red domestic airline after suffering heavy losses.[31]

On 6 October 2014, Virgin Atlantic confirmed that Little Red services between London and Manchester would end in March 2015, and that the Scottish routes would be terminated in September 2015.[32] Passengers used the routes from point to point as opposed to using it as a connection for longer haul Virgin Atlantic flights. The former BMI routes continued with rival airline British Airways.

2015

In June 2015, Richard Branson stated that Virgin Atlantic had needed the aforementioned deal with Delta to survive, after losses of £233 million between 2010 and 2013. [33] In the same month, the airline announced it would cut 500 jobs to establish a more efficient management structure.[34]

2017

In July 2017, Air France-KLM nearly acquired a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic for £220 million. This deal however never went through.[35]

2019

In 2019, Virgin Atlantic began to allow its female flight attendants to not wear makeup and have a choice to wear trousers rather than a skirt.[36]

In September 2019, it was announced Virgin Atlantic had outlined plans to expand. A key part of these plans would have been Flybe, including a plan to rebrand it as "Virgin Connect" from early 2020; however, the plans fell through when Flybe filed for administration and ceased operations in March 2020. [37][38][39]

In December 2019, Branson announced that he would be scrapping the sale of a 31% stake in the airline to Air France-KLM and that Virgin Group would retain its 51% shareholding.[40]

2020

In March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic attracted criticism by asking employees to take eight weeks' unpaid leave. However, this was before the UK Government announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and employees were subsequently furloughed instead.[41] Whilst furloughed, many staff volunteered with the NHS, answering 999 calls, and at NHS Trusts in London and the South East.[42]

On 27 March, it was reported that Virgin Atlantic was expected to seek a government bailout, which was on 1 April reportedly backed by Rolls Royce, Airbus and Heathrow.[43][44]

In May 2020, Virgin Atlantic announced over 3,000 jobs losses in the UK and an imminent end to operations at Gatwick Airport.[45]

On 4 August, Virgin Atlantic filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in the US as part of a recapitalisation and debt restructuring plan.[46] On August 25, 2020, creditors approved the £1.2bn (€1.3bn) rescue package and debt restructuring.[47]

On September 4, 2020, Virgin Atlantic announced a second round of job cuts, totalling 1,150 across all departments. Since the start of 2020, the company halved its workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief executive Shai Weiss said that "further reducing the number of people we employ is heartbreaking but essential."[48][49]

Corporate affairs

Offices

The former head office building The Office in Crawley

Virgin Atlantic's head office, known as The VHQ, is located on a business park in Crawley, England, near Gatwick Airport[50] and also houses the corporate offices of Virgin Holidays.[51] The company operates several offices and call centres around the United Kingdom, including a large office in Swansea, Wales, which is a base for reservations, sales, baggage claims and tracing, 'live chat' web support and a customer relations department.

International offices are located at Atlanta, Barbados, Greater Delhi, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Lagos and Shanghai.[52]

Ownership

Virgin Group sold a 49% stake in the airline to Singapore Airlines in 1999 for £600 million.[53] On 14 May 2008, Singapore Airlines formally announced an invitation for offers for its Virgin Atlantic stake, and publicly acknowledged that its stake in the airline had "underperformed".[54]

In November 2010, it was reported that Virgin Atlantic had appointed Deutsche Bank to begin a strategic review of options for the airline following the tie-up between British Airways and American Airlines.[55] By February 2011, it was confirmed that SkyTeam members Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines had appointed Goldman Sachs to advise them on a joint potential approach for Virgin Atlantic. Etihad Airways was also reported to be considering a deal,[56] and Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, stated that they would be interested in the airline, but only for the lucrative take-off and landing slots it holds at Heathrow Airport.[57]

On 11 December 2012, Delta Air Lines confirmed the purchase of Singapore Airlines' 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic for £224 million, with plans to develop a transatlantic joint venture. Regulatory approval from the United States and European Union was granted on 20 June 2013,[58] and the purchase was completed on 24 June.[59] In December 2012, International Airlines Group CEO, Willie Walsh, suggested that the loss-making company would be history within five years. "I can't see Delta wanting to operate the Virgin brand because if they do what does that say about the Delta brand? I just don't see that the guy [Branson] has anything that stands out in terms of what he has achieved in the industry."[60]

In July 2017, Virgin Group agreed to sell a 31% stake in the airline to Air France-KLM for £220 million, leaving it with a 20% holding.[35] The deal fell through in late 2019.[61]

Senior leadership

  • Chairman: Peter Norris (since July 2012)
  • Chief Executive: Shai Weiss (since January 2019)

List of former chairmen

  1. Randolph Fields (1984–1985)
  2. Sir Richard Branson (1985–2012)

List of former chief executives

  1. Sir Richard Branson (1984–2001)
  2. Steve Ridgway (2001–2013)
  3. Craig Kreeger (2013–2018)

Business trends

The key trends for Virgin Atlantic are shown below (from 2014 onwards, figures are for year ending December; earlier figures are for year ending February, and exclude Virgin Nigeria operations 2005–2008):

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Turnover (£m) 1,630 2,337 2,579 2,357 2,700 2,740 2,870 2,828 2,782 2,689 2,664 2,781 2,927
Profit (EBT) (£m) 68.0 22.9 68.4 −132.0 18.5 −80.2 −69.9 −174.7 87.5 23.0 −28.4 −12.8 −63.7
Net profit (£m) 80.1 187.3 −65.6 −38.4 −54.7
Number of employees (average monthly) c.9,000 9,580 9,231 9,005 8,875 8,303 8,571 10, 051
Total flights 21,344 22,149 20,735 19,484 20,519 21,033 28,373 29,710 27,147 21,883
Number of passengers (m) 5.7 5.8 5.5 5.5 5.3 5.4 5.5 6.1 5.7 5.4 5.3 5.4 5.9
Passenger load factor (%) 76.5 76.9 78.9 82.5 77.5 78.1 77.4 79.3 76.8 78.7 78.3 78.6 81.0
Number of aircraft (at year end) 40 40 39 40 39 39 46 45
Notes/sources [62][63] [62][63] [62][63] [62][63] [62][63] [63][64]
[65][66]
[67][68] [69][70] [71] [72] [73] [74] [75]

Service concept

Clubhouse lounge at Heathrow Airport

Virgin Atlantic aircraft operate with a three-class cabin configuration: Economy, Premium (formerly Premium Economy),[8] and Upper Class - the business class product. Premium has a separate check-in area, priority boarding and a wider seat with more legroom. Upper Class features a seat that converts into a fully flat bed and access to chauffeur drive (in a private check in area called the Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow).[76] Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to offer personal entertainment for all passengers in all classes.[citation needed]

Interestingly, the airline has shown films in the past which included plane crashes.[77]

The airline's frequent-flyer program is styled 'the Flying Club'.

Virgin Atlantic operates 6 lounges worldwide called 'Clubhouse' at London Heathrow, New York-JFK, Boston, Washington D.C.-Dulles, San Francisco and Johannesburg.[78] It also operates a 'Revivals' arrival lounge in London Heathrow. They are accessible for passengers travelling in Upper Class and Flying Club Gold tier members. Where applicable, Upper Class passengers are also welcome to use Delta Sky Clubs prior to departure.

Little Red

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A320-200 Little Red operated by Aer Lingus

British Midland International provided domestic and European feeder traffic into Heathrow Airport in partnership with Virgin[79] until it was purchased by British Airways' parent company International Airlines Group in 2011. The Lufthansa-owned airline had faced heavy annual losses of more than £100 million. Under the terms of the takeover, IAG had to relinquish some former BMI domestic slots at Heathrow. Virgin Atlantic purchased enough slots in 2012 to enable it to launch a domestic service on 31 March 2013, under the Little Red brand, operating a total of 12 daily services from London to Aberdeen (three), Edinburgh (six), and Manchester (three).[80] The airline wet-leased four Airbus Airbus A320-200s from Aer Lingus, operating with Virgin Atlantic livery, under a three-year contract.[81][82]

In September 2014, it was reported that Virgin Atlantic was considering closing its domestic brand after suffering heavy losses,[83] with Civil Aviation Authority figures confirming an average seat occupancy level of just 37.6% in 2013.[31] The 12 daily pairs of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow cannot be sold to be used for long-haul routes.[84]

On 6 October 2014, Virgin Atlantic confirmed that the Little Red service would cease; flights to Manchester ended on 28 March 2015 and flights to Edinburgh and Aberdeen ended on 26 September 2015.[85]

Virgin Atlantic International Limited

On 13 April 2015, Virgin Atlantic incorporated a new subsidiary – Virgin Atlantic International Limited (VAIL).[86] In November 2015, VAIL obtained its own Air Operators Certificate and Operating Licence, and commenced operations with two former Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited operated Airbus A330-300 aircraft taking over routes previously operated by Virgin Atlantic Limited between London Gatwick and Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, Grenada and Tobago.[87] These flights are operated on behalf of Virgin Atlantic.[88]

Upon incorporation as an AOC holder, the majority of Virgin Atlantic's landing slots at London Heathrow Airport were transferred to VAIL, allowing Virgin Atlantic to access the value of the carriers' slots by 'mortgaging' them through open investment from capital markets.[89]

Flybe takeover bid

On 11 January 2019, Virgin Atlantic formed the Connect Airways consortium with Stobart Aviation and Cyrus Capital, to make a takeover bid for Flybe.[90][91] The deal would see the consortium combine Flybe and Stobart Air with Virgin Atlantic to create an integrated carrier operating under the Virgin Atlantic brand.[92] Flybe and Stobart Air would however retain their own Air Operator Certificates.[93] On 15 January 2019, Connect Airways announced an increased offer, which Flybe's board accepted.[94] On 21 February 2019, the Flybe Group confirmed that its operating assets, including the airline and the website, had indeed been transferred to Connect Airways, despite a last-minute rival bid.[95] However, despite the investment of £135 million from Connect Airways into Flybe, the airline filed for administration and ceased operations with immediate effect in March 2020, following reduced demand that Virgin Atlantic attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the UK government failing to grant a £100 million loan.[96][39]

Destinations

Map of Virgin Atlantic destinations:
  United Kingdom
  Destinations
  Terminated

Codeshare agreements

Virgin Atlantic has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[97]

Fleet

Virgin Atlantic operates a fleet consisting entirely of widebody aircraft from both Airbus and Boeing.

Livery

Boeing 747-400 Lady Penelope in Birthday Girl livery in 2014, on approach to New York-JFK, NY, United States

Virgin Atlantic's first aircraft were painted with a "Eurowhite" design with a red stripe through the centre of the main deck windows. The engines were metallic silver and the tail red with the logo in white. In the 1990s, the refreshed design was introduced, removing the centre red stripe through the windows, engines were painted red, the Virgin Atlantic titles in grey were added along the main fuselage, and the 'Flying Lady' was introduced to the nose area.

In October 2006, with the delivery of G-VRED, Virgin Atlantic introduced a new design, with the fuselage painted in metallic silver and a revised tail fin, with red and purple features and the logo. Near the nose of each aircraft is a pin-up girl, the "Scarlet Lady", carrying a Union flag, which was designed by British artist Ken White, who modelled the motif on the World War II pin-ups of Alberto Vargas – hence the naming one of the fleet Varga Girl (in this case, an A340-600 registered G-VGAS).[63]

Each aircraft has a name, usually feminine, such as Ladybird, Island Lady, and Ruby Tuesday, but some are linked to registrations (e.g. G-VFIZ became Bubbles). A couple are commemorative names (e.g. G-VEIL—Queen of the Skies—which was named by Queen Elizabeth II on 7 April 2004, marking the centenary of the Entente Cordiale; this frame exited the fleet in April 2016). An exception is Spirit of Sir Freddie. An early Boeing 747, it was named in honour of Freddie Laker of Laker Airways, who helped Virgin Atlantic following the demise of his own airline. G-VFAB—Lady Penelope—gained a special livery to celebrate Virgin Atlantic's 21st birthday. G-VFAB, Lady Penelope, exited the fleet in September 2015 after 21 years of service and was subsequently parted out.[99] In 2006, the airline ran an eBay auction to name an Airbus A340-600, registered G-VYOU. The winner named it Emmeline Heaney after his newborn daughter, and the name adorned the aircraft for the remainder of its operating service until the aircraft was retired in October 2019.[100] In 2018, a previously stored Airbus A340-600 registered G-VNAP was returned to active use by Virgin Atlantic, and was renamed from Sleeping Beauty to Sleeping Beauty Rejuvenated. It additionally received a special "thank you" livery dedicated to its 9,000 employees.[101]

The current livery dates from 2010 and returns to the "Eurowhite" design featuring purple billboard titles on the fuselage, slight changes to the Scarlet Lady, and new red metallic paint for the aircraft's tail and engines. On aircraft that have winglets, the wingtips are red, with the logo on the inside facing passengers on board. The Virgin Atlantic logo was also added in purple billboard titles to the underside of the aircraft.[102]

In anticipation of the Airbus A350-1000's introduction to the airline's fleet, Virgin Atlantic announced in April 2019 that its Flying Lady mascot to be adorned on the A350's nose would be replaced by illustrations referred to as Flying Icons, consisting of a range of five individual characters in an effort to represent modern Britain.[103] Each of the characters, separately named Daley, Meera, Oscar, Ray, and Zadie, were styled and posed with Union flags similarly to the Flying Lady. Originally portraying the characters in leotards, the illustrations were later revised by designer Toby Tinsley to instead portray the characters wearing more clothing and revealing less skin, prior to their application on Virgin Atlantic's first A350.[104][105] Meera, one of the first five characters, was also at some point changed to or replaced by Mei, a new character portraying a Chinese woman. Reasons for the changes or revisions were not provided by Virgin Atlantic or anyone involved in the branding. At least one additional Flying Icon was unveiled to complement the initial five, including an icon portraying an Indian woman, named Aria.[106]

Incidents and accidents

Virgin Atlantic is considered to have a strong safety reputation. Since the airline's founding in 1984, it has never suffered a complete hull-loss incident or a passenger fatality.[107]

  • On 5 November 1997, after numerous attempts to shake free the jammed main landing gear of an Airbus A340-300 (G-VSKY) failed, the aircraft en route from Los Angeles to Heathrow made an emergency landing at Heathrow Airport. The aircraft sustained major damage to the undersides of engines one, two, and four, which made contact with the runway surface during landing. The runway surface was also damaged and several runway lights were broken as the right main landing gear wheels broke up during the deceleration. The aircraft was evacuated safely. Two crew members and five passengers sustained minor injuries during the evacuation.[108] The damaged aircraft was repaired after the incident and was retired from the Virgin Atlantic fleet in 2003.[109]
  • On 8 February 2005, on board an Airbus A340-600 aircraft (G-VATL) en route from Hong Kong to Heathrow, the fuel control computer system caused a loss of automatic fuel transfer between tanks. The pilots diverted to Amsterdam and landed safely. The interim accident report made four safety recommendations addressed to the primary certification bodies for large transport category aircraft (EASA and the FAA), advising on the need for a low-fuel warning system for large aircraft.[110]
  • On 15 March 2021, Virgin Atlantic flight 453 operated by a Boeing 787-9 en route to Tel Aviv from Heathrow was forced to return to Heathrow whilst flying over Paris after the aircraft was subject to a laser attack from the ground. The flight crew issued an emergency Pan call after the captain lost sight in one eye. No other injuries were reported.[111][112][113]

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ "Virgin Atlantic announces appointment of new CEO". 27 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Directors". Virgin Atlantic. 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Virgin Atlantic Annual Report 2018, retrieved 24 September 2019
  4. ^ "Coronavirus: Virgin Atlantic to cut 3,000 jobs and quit Gatwick". BBC News. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b "UK Aeroplane and Helicopter AOC Holders (N-Z)". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Type A Operating Licence Holders". Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Virgin Atlantic launches direct flights from Edinburgh to Barbados". BBC News. 11 August 2021. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Premium | Virgin Atlantic". www.virginatlantic.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Bloomberg – Branson drops Air France Deal to Keep Control of Virgin Atlantic". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Leaving Gatwick, Retiring 747s". One Mile at a Time. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Virgin Atlantic to cut 3,000 jobs and quit Gatwick". BBC News. 5 May 2020.
  12. ^ Slotnick, David. "Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic is the second Virgin airline to declare bankruptcy as the pandemic rips apart the industry". Business Insider. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  13. ^ "A Solvent Recapitalisation of Virgin Atlantic". Virgin Atlantic Corporate Site.
  14. ^ a b c "Aircraft Illustrated – Virgin Birth". Aircraft Illustrated. Ian Allan: 48–51. ISSN 0002-2675.
  15. ^ West Sussex County Times. 20 January 1984. p. 1.
  16. ^ "Branson's flights of fancy: The highs and lows of Virgin Atlantic." The Independent, 5 June 2009.
  17. ^ Bamber, G.J.; Gittell, J.H.; Kochan, T.von Nordenflytch, A. (2009). "chapter 5". Up in the Air: How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging their Employees. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ David Cross. "Flying Dutchman-Virgin Atlantic style." Times [London, England] 17 November 1984: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 20 September 2014.
  19. ^ "LTN89intro". www.departedflights.com. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Operation of the UK Traffic Distribution Rules in relation to all-cargo services at London Heathrow Airport" (PDF). BAA Heathrow. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  21. ^ Lee Glendinning (2 August 2007). "Row over dirty tricks led to decade of hostilities". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  22. ^ Elkins, Kathleen. "When Richard Branson's airline won $945,000 from a lawsuit, he gave it all to his employees." CNBC, 4 August 2017.
  23. ^ Velotta, Richard N. (21 May 2012). "Virgin Atlantic, British airways to do battle over Las Vegas". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  24. ^ "Virgin's battle of Britain with BA". BBC News. 7 June 1999. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  25. ^ "Virgin tip-off 'led to BA probe'". BBC News. 23 June 2006. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  26. ^ "US judge upholds BA's $300m fine". BBC News. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  27. ^ Osborne, Alistair (14 July 2009). "Virgin boss caught up in BA price-fixing case". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  28. ^ Osborne, Alistair (22 April 2010). "Virgin Atlantic accused of fixing Hong Kong flight prices". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  29. ^ Wearden, Graeme (22 April 2010). "OFT accuses Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific of price-fixing". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  30. ^ Larson, Erik; Lundgren, Kari (14 December 2012). "Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific Cleared in U.K. Price-Fix Probe". Bloomberg. New York. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  31. ^ a b Nathalie Thomas (7 September 2014). "Doubts over future of Virgin Atlantic's Little Red airline". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  32. ^ Quinn, James (7 October 2014). "British airline calls time on short-haul service after just 18 months in operation". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  33. ^ "Virgin needed Delta to fly to the rescue, Branson admits". The Times. London. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  34. ^ "Virgin Atlantic airline to cut 500 jobs". BBC News. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  35. ^ a b "Air France-KLM is buying 31% of Virgin Atlantic." BBC News 27 July 2017
  36. ^ Yeginsu, Ceylan (5 March 2019). "Virgin Atlantic Won't Make Female Flight Attendants Wear Makeup or Skirts Anymore – The New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  37. ^ "Welcome to Virgin Connect". www.virginconnect.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  38. ^ "Flybe and widebody orders key to Virgin Atlantic's Heathrow aims". flightglobal.com. 19 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  39. ^ a b Topham, Gwyn (5 March 2020). "Flybe: airline collapses two months after government announces rescue". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  40. ^ Jasper, Christopher (2 December 2019). "Branson Drops Air France Deal to Keep Control of Virgin Atlantic". Bloomberg. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  41. ^ Dawkins, David (16 March 2020). "Bad Times For Billionaire Branson–Staff At Virgin Atlantic Asked To Take Unpaid Leave As Coronavirus Cripples Air Travel". Forbes. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  42. ^ Moore, Alison (17 April 2020). "Furloughed Virgin Atlantic staff to handle 999 calls". HSJ. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  43. ^ "Virgin Atlantic seeks bailout in coming days". BBC News. 27 March 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  44. ^ correspondent, Gwyn Topham Transport (1 April 2020). "Virgin Atlantic bailout backed by Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Heathrow". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  45. ^ "Virgin Atlantic to cut 3,000 jobs and quit Gatwick". BBC News. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  46. ^ "Virgin Atlantic files for bankruptcy protection as Covid continues to hurt airlines". The Guardian. 4 August 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  47. ^ "Virgin Atlantic rescue approved but airlines continue to feel the heat". Irish Examiner. 25 August 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  48. ^ Georgiadis, Phillip (4 September 2020). "Virgin Atlantic to shed 1,000 more jobs as Covid-19 crisis bites deeper". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  49. ^ "Virgin Atlantic plans 1,150 more job cuts". reuters.com. 4 September 2020. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  50. ^ "Book flights with Virgin Atlantic". Virgin Atlantic. 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  51. ^ "Contact us". Virgin Holidays. 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  52. ^ "Our Media Centres". virginatlantic.com. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  53. ^ "Branson sells 49% of Virgin Atlantic". BBC News. 20 December 1999. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  54. ^ "SIA invites offers for its 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic". Channelnewsasia.com. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  55. ^ Alistair Osborne (5 November 2010). "Sir Richard Branson begins strategic review of Virgin Atlantic". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  56. ^ Louise Armitstead (20 February 2011). "Air France and Delta to target Virgin Atlantic". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  57. ^ Max Kingsley-Jones (24 February 2011). "IAG 'very interested' in Virgin, but only for slots: Walsh". Flightglobal. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  58. ^ "Regulators Clear Virgin Atlantic/Delta Deal". Sky News. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  59. ^ Andrew Parker (24 June 2013). "Delta secures Virgin Atlantic stake". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  60. ^ Saporito, Bill (13 December 2012). "Virgin Finally Hooks Up: Why Richard Branson Cut a Deal With Delta". Time Magazine. New York. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  61. ^ [1] Financial Times 4 December 2019
  62. ^ a b c d e "UK Airline Statistics, Data, Economic Regulation". Civil Aviation Authority. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  63. ^ a b c d e f g "Virgin Atlantic press information kit" (PDF). Virgin Atlantic. March 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  64. ^ "Staff Numbers". Virgin Atlantic. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  65. ^ "Virgin Atlantic completes biggest ever product investment programme as it reports its 2012 financial results" (Press release). Virgin Atlantic. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  66. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Sustainability Report 2013" (PDF) (Press release). Virgin Atlantic. 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  67. ^ "Virgin Atlantic 2013 Financial Results" (PDF). 16 May 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  68. ^ Andrew Parker (16 May 2013). "Virgin Atlantic chief vows return to profit". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  69. ^ "Virgin Atlantic 2014 financial results". 10 March 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  70. ^ "Virgin Atlantic 2014 Full Year Report" (PDF). 10 March 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  71. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Annual Report 2015" (PDF). 17 March 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  72. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Annual Report 2016" (PDF). 23 March 2017. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  73. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Annual Report 2017" (PDF). 15 March 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  74. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Annual Report 2018" (PDF). 20 March 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  75. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Annual Report 2019" (PDF). virginatlantic.com. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  76. ^ "Upper Class transfers". Virgin Atlantic. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  77. ^ "SHOULD SULLY, THE FILM ABOUT 'THE MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON', BE SHOWN ON FLIGHTS?". The Independent. 24 November 2016.
  78. ^ "Our Clubhouses". virgin-atlantic.com.
  79. ^ Mark Odell (19 November 2012). "Virgin set to boost short-haul ambitions". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  80. ^ "Virgin Atlantic unveils UK airline service". BBC News Online. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  81. ^ David Kaminski-Morrow (10 December 2012). "Virgin Atlantic to wet-lease A320s from Aer Lingus". Flightglobal. London. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  82. ^ Ciara Kenny (8 April 2013). "Aer Lingus to operate third UK route for Virgin". Irish Times. Dublin. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  83. ^ Andrew Clark (8 September 2014). "Little Red could be thrown to the wolves and shut by ruthless Virgin". The Times. London. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  84. ^ "Virgin eyes BMI slots for launch of UK flights". London: Airport Watch. 8 April 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  85. ^ "Virgin Atlantic cancels Little Red domestic flight service". BBC News. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  86. ^ "VIRGIN ATLANTIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED". companieshouse.gov.uk. Companies House. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  87. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Stop Press 852: Virgin Atlantic International Limited (VAIL)" (PDF). vsflyinghub.com. Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  88. ^ Whyte, Patrick (20 November 2015). "Virgin Atlantic sets up new airline entity". ttgmedia.com. TTG. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  89. ^ Powley, Tanya; Jackson, Gavin (10 December 2015). "Virgin Atlantic lands Europe's first bond tied to airport slots". Financial Times.
  90. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David (11 January 2019). "Virgin Atlantic and Stobart link up to take over Flybe". Flightglobal.com.
  91. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David (11 January 2019). "Cuts likely as Virgin shapes Flybe-Stobart combination". Flightglobal.com.
  92. ^ Calder, Simon (11 January 2019). "Consortium strikes takeover deal for Flybe". Insider Media Ltd.
  93. ^ Dyson, Momlly (11 January 2019). "Virgin Atlantic and Stobart agree Flybe take-over". buyingbusinesstravel.com.
  94. ^ Reals, Kerry. "Connect Airways raises takeover offer for Flybe". atwonline.com.
  95. ^ Warrington, James (21 February 2019). "Flybe completes sale to Virgin-led consortium". cityam.com.
  96. ^ Alfred Chua (5 March 2020). "Beleaguered Flybe ceases operations". Flightglobal.
  97. ^ "Our partner airlines". Virgin Atlantic. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  98. ^ Finlay, Mark (19 November 2019). "WestJet Secures Virgin Atlantic Codeshare Agreement". Simple Flying. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  99. ^ Dinsdale, James (28 September 2015). "Lady Penelope Arrives in Goodyear, Leaves a Legacy Behind". Airline Geeks. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  100. ^ Gunner, Dave (7 August 2019). "G-VHOW do we name our aircraft?". Virgin Atlantic. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  101. ^ "PICTURES: Virgin Atlantic unveils special livery to thank employees". FlightGlobal. DVV Media Group. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  102. ^ Johnson, Branwell (29 July 2010). "Virgin Atlantic flies high with new brand livery and identity". Marketing Week. London. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  103. ^ Harper, Lewis (2 April 2019). "PICTURES: Virgin Atlantic replaces Flying Lady motif on A350-1000". FlightGlobal. DVV Media Group. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  104. ^ Stoffels, Felix (4 March 2020). "No more bathing suits: Virgin's Flying Icons are suddenly wearing more clothes". aeroTELEGRAPH. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  105. ^ Smith, Lucy (28 November 2019). "Five new icons celebrating British culture today appear on Virgin aircraft". Creative Moment. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  106. ^ Clarkson, Natalie (17 December 2019). "Virgin Atlantic reveals a new flying icon for India". Virgin. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  107. ^ Zhang, Benjamin (1 November 2018). "The 20 safest airlines in the world". Business Insider. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  108. ^ "Report on the accident to Airbus A340-300, G-VSKY, at London Heathrow Airport on 5 November 1997". Air Accident Investigations Branch. 2000. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  109. ^ "BWIA Int 9Y-JIL (Airbus A340 – MSN 16) (Ex G-VSKY ) – Airfleets aviation". airfleets.net.
  110. ^ "Airbus A340-642, G-VATL" (PDF). Air Accident Investigations Branch. 2006. Retrieved 26 July 2007.
  111. ^ Ben (17 March 2021). "Virgin Atlantic 787 Diverts After Pilot Injured By Laser". One Mile at a Time. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  112. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Jet Turns Back After Laser Attack on Pilots". Bloomberg.com. 16 March 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  113. ^ "Virgin Atlantic flight to TLV returns to UK after laser shone in cockpit". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 29 April 2021.

Bibliography

  • Gregory, Martyn. Dirty Tricks: British Airways' Secret War Against Virgin Atlantic. New York: Virgin, 2000. ISBN 0-7535-0458-8
  • Bower, Tom. Branson. UK: Fourth Estate, 2001 ISBN 1-84115-400-8
  • Branson, Richard. Losing my Virginity – The Autobiography. London: Virgin Books Ltd, 2006 [2nd reprint] ISBN 0-7535-1020-0

External links

Media related to Virgin Atlantic at Wikimedia Commons

  • Official website