MIAMI – Virgin Atlantic (VS), the London-based long-haul airline part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, announced the retirement of its small but mighty Boeing 747 fleet back in May, and its aircraft sat idle with nowhere to go.

On October 3, G-VROM, also known as ‘Barbarella’, was flown from London Heathrow (LHR) to Pinal Airpark (MZJ) in Marana, Arizona to be converted for Atlas Air (5Y)with an overnight stop in Las Vegas (LAS).

Now, G-VROS, nicknamed ‘Forever Young’, will be the second of three VS Boeing 747 to go to Atlas Air (5Y) will fly from LHR to LAS and onto MZJ for its conversion under the callsign VS840P on October 28. G-VROS is on the younger side of the 747 spectra. It was delivered in March 2001, making it almost 21 years old, so it makes sense to be given another life with 5Y.

Photo: VS

Atlas Air and the Boeing 747


Atlas Air operates one of the world’s largest fleets of Boeing 747s, with a majority cargo but few in passenger configuration, used for military or NFL charters. It is unclear whether Atlas will have these Boeing 747s converted to carry cargo or keep them with passenger configurations.

As more and more Boeing 747s are retired, it won’t be uncommon to see cargo airlines repurposing them for their own use as cargo demand for PPE has never been higher.

The nickname ‘Forever Young’ is more ironic than ever now that her time with VS is wrapping up, and of course, all good things must come to an end. After two decades with the airline, it’s always good to know that these iconic birds aren’t heading to the scrapper, because, let’s face it, we all have a soft spot in our heart for the Queen of the Skies.


Featured image: Luca Flores

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