Virgin Atlantic has named its newest Airbus A330neo aircraft in honour of Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September 2022 as Britain’s longest-ever Monarch at the age of 96.
The $259 million aircraft is set to enter service in April and has appropriated the ‘Queen of the Skies’ moniker in dedication to the late Monarch. The title is normally reserved as a nickname for the Boeing 747 jumbojet, but Virgin Atlantic has emblazoned the name on the side of its newest aircraft.
In fact, this isn’t the first time that Virgin Atlantic has used the ‘Queen of the Skies’ name – in 2004, the carrier bestowed the moniker on a now-retired Airbus A340-600 when Her Majesty unveiled the aircraft at a ceremony at the Airbus factory in Toulouse.
Along with the nickname, Virgin Atlantic has thoughtfully assigned a royal sounding registration for the aircraft – G-VEII. The registration is comprised of the country code, which in this case is G for Great Britain, followed by a V, which is a feature of every Virgin Atlantic registration, and then EII which stands for Elizabeth II.
“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,” commented Virgin Atlantic’s chief customer and operations officer, Corneel Koster.
“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,” Koster continued.
Virgin Atlantics describes itself as Britain’s flag carrier because, unlike British Airways, the airline carries the Union Flag on its aircraft livery.
The airline has a long history of naming its aircraft – one such plane was even named after Princess Diana. A current aircraft in the fleet is named Lady Emmeline with registration G-VLIB which is a homage to Emmeline Pankhurst, a women’s rights activist and founder of the Suffragette movement.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.