Virgin Atlantic, the airline of British tycoon Richard Branson, decided to honor Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September 2022. For this, the company baptized its fourth Airbus A330-900 with the name “Queen of the Skies“.
The denomination is familiar, but has no relation to the monarch who reigned for more than 70 years. It is one of the best known nicknames of the Boeing 747, the iconic aircraft whose production is about to end.
“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,” said Corneel Koster, chief customer and operations officer at Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin has a habit of honoring inspiring women on its aircraft such as “Lade Emmeline” (A350-1000 registration G-VLIB) which pays tribute to the founder of the Suffragette movement and women’s rights activist Emmeline Pankhurst, and Branson’s mother , immortalized in the A350-1000 “Fearless Lady” (G-VEVE).
It remains to understand what relationship the UK carrier saw between the A330 and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is worth remembering that the initiative is not unprecedented: an A340-600 was also baptized as “Queen of the Skies” by Virgin in 2004, at the time when it was an important operator of the Boeing 747 itself.