Virgin Atlantic said farewell to its last Boeing 747 on its final flight from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) in the United States on December 21, 2020.
The aircraft, named Pretty Woman, was the last Boeing 747-400 (registered as G-VROY) to leave Virgin Atlantic fleet, marking the end of a 36 year-long era of Queen of the Skies operations with the airline. The Boeing 747 is on its way to its new owners, namely Atlas Air. The US-based operator will convert the aircraft into a troop carrier.
This marks the final Boeing 747 aircraft departure from London Heathrow Airport (LHR), as the local rival British Airways also retired its last Boeing 747 earlier in 2020. The large quad-engine aircraft lost favor amidst the collapse of international travel. Much like with the Airbus A380, airlines opted to retire their biggest and in case of the 747, oldest aircraft they have in their fleets.
Today, Pretty Woman makes her last flight with us from @HeathrowAirport and is the last @Boeing 747 to leave our fleet. Follow her final departure virtually on @BigJetTVLIVE from 11am: https://t.co/4NkmmOeue5 ✈️ pic.twitter.com/cuamVnvLJN
— virginatlantic (@VirginAtlantic) December 21, 2020
Virgin Atlantic retired its last remaining seven Boeing 747 aircraft in May 2020, forwarding their retirement from the earlier planned date of 2021. In addition, the airline shed 3,100 jobs and temporarily closed down its London Gatwick Airport (LGW) operations.
In August 2020, the airline warned that it might run out of cash as soon as September 2020. Virgin Atlantic’s fortunes turned in late-August 2020, as it had secured funds to continue operations in the short-term future.