Virgin Atlantic’s newest A330 neo has been named ‘Queen of the Skies’ after the late Queen Elizabeth II.
This may come as a bit of a surprise to our readers, given that the nickname is often used for B747 aircraft.
The dedication is located at the front of the aircraft, above the carrier’s flying mascot.
The aircraft will also feature the registration G-VEII in tribute to the late monarch.
The ‘Queen of the Skies’ moniker was previously used on one of the carrier’s A340-600 aircraft in 2004 as part of a state visit to France to celebrate the centenary of the Entente Cordiale.
Virgin’s fleet already pays homage to women including the founder of the Suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst (Lady Emmeline – G-VLIB), and Richard Branson’s mother, Eve Branson (Fearless Lady – G-VEVE).
Corneel Koster, chief customer and operations officer, Virgin Atlantic, commented;
“Just like Queen Elizabeth during her historic 70-year reign, Virgin Atlantic is proud to fly the flag for the United Kingdom around the world. We’re delighted to soon be welcoming ‘Queen of the Skies’ to our fleet and hope that it serves as a fitting tribute to an unforgettable, much-loved monarch.”
The aircraft took delivery of its first A330 neo last October and currently operates three other A330 neos, named Billie Holiday, Space Oddity and Eliza Doolittle. Virgin Atlantic is the first UK operator of the A330 neo, with “an intention to expand the fleet to 16 eventually”.
We travelled on the A330 neo for the inaugural flight to Tampa last November: