Virgin Atlantic’s last Boeing 747 on Monday took off from London Heathrow. However, the airline’s jumbo jet was named Pretty Woman (registration G-VROY).
The aircraft was the last jumbo jet to leave the fleet. However, it has been flying for Virgin Atlantic since June 18, 2001. It has made over 2,600 trips to Orlando in Florida.
The Last Takeoff
To mark the historic occasion aviation fans were able to watch online with Big Jet TV. Moreover, the pilots’ preparations and route-plotting, the final checks of the aircraft. And the moment when the plane finally took off were all shown online.
However, there was no passenger on board the flight. But a few weeks before the plane’s departure, the airline opened the plane up to the public for a special dining experience and tour.
For maintaining distance among the people the airline sold tickets. However, the tickets were sold out within minutes of bookings opening.
It marks the end of an era for the Boeing 747, dubbed the ‘Queen of Skies’, with both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. As both the airlines have retired the planes early due to the impact of the pandemic.
In fact, when Virgin Atlantic shared a photo of the aircraft in tribute to its final journey. British Airways’ social media representative commented with a sweet message, “Good luck today @Virgin Atlantic as you say goodbye to your Pretty Woman, who looks as lovely as can be. A fond farewell from all of us at British Airways.. we will miss seeing jumbo jets at Heathrow.”
The Pandemic Effect
However, Virgin Atlantic previously said that it has plans to retire all seven of its Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The airline originally planned to complete this in 2021. However, due to the pandemic and its impact on the airline industry the airline chose to retire the jumbo jets with immediate effect earlier this year.
Similarly, British Airways also made the decision of retiring its ‘fuel-hungry’ Boeing 747s earlier than it was supposed to.
There were 31 Boeing 747 planes in the British Airways fleet, all of which flew their last commercial services over the summer. At one point, the airline had been operating 57 of the aircraft.
The last of its 747s left the fleet earlier this year, although there are plans for one of the planes to be opened to the public by next spring, while another aircraft is set to be transformed into an exhibition.