Virgin Atlantic held a farewell to its final Boeing 747-400 before transferring the jumbo jet to a new owner to begin its second life as a troop carrier in the United States (U.S).
The Queen of the Skies of Virgin Atlantic, registered as G-VROY, is scheduled for the last departure from Heathrow Airport (LHR), London, where the plane is currently stored, to Pinal Airpark, U.S, on December 16, 2020. According to Planespotters.com, the jumbo jet, also called “Pretty Woman“, was stored at LHR airport from the middle of November 2020.
The 19,5-year-old “Pretty Woman” has already undergone the acceptance check by its lessor and would be taken by Atlas Air for the second life as a troop carrier. The cargo airline would take a total of three Virgin Atlantics Boeing 747s, which the British airline retired by autumn 2020.
On December 12, 2020, Virgin Atlantic held a farewell event for “Pretty Woman” in the maintenance hangar at LHR airport, where the employees could take one final look at the plane before the final departure.
A few photos from yesterday’s farewell event for @VirginAtlantic final Boeing 747-400 G-VROY. She departs Heathrow for the final time on the 16th, Goodbye Pretty Woman #Boeing747 #QOTS pic.twitter.com/1kpbtLSVHJ
— James | SpeedBirdUK (@speedbird_uk) December 13, 2020
Earlier in December 2020, Corneel Koster, the Chief Customer and Operating Officer at Virgin Atlantic, outlined that the air carrier’s jumbos were the first planes to fly passengers to New York 36 years ago in 1984. With the earlier retirement of jumbos, the air carrier aimed to cut its fuel consumption by 30% while moving its operations to a “more sustainable fleet“ with Airbus A350-1000 jets and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
“The much-loved Boeing 747 has played an important role in Virgin Atlantic’s story. It carried our first passengers to New York 36 years ago on our inaugural flight and over the years has transported countless millions of holiday-makers and business travelers safely around the world“, said Koster.
“As we close this chapter and continue the transformation towards a cleaner, greener fleet, what better tribute than to showcase the Queen of the Skies one last time. I’m delighted we’re able to offer this opportunity to a lucky few to be part of aviation history before we say our fond farewells to this iconic plane,” added the Chief Customer and Operating Officer of Virgin Atlantic.
Following Planespotters.com data, the Virgin Atlantic fleet has shrunk to a total of 38 wide-body-only aircraft, including 14 Airbus A330, 7 A350s, and 17 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.