An interesting sight at Gatwick in the 1980s was a rather unusually coloured Viscount wearing the red of the new thorn in BA's side: Virgin Atlantic. Several short-haul aircraft have operated in Virgin mainline colours over the years from 737-400s to A320s (always leased from or operated by other airlines), however the Viscount is clearly my favourite.
Virgin began service in June 1984 operating transatlantic services with 747s. To help fill the aircraft Richard Branson devised a scheme to operate a route to Maastricht to help fill the 747 especially during the lean winter months. For that purpose a G-AOYP was damp leased from British Air Ferries in December 1985, however after two years the route was dropped as Virgin’s marketing strategy had changed and the route wasn’t profitable. YP was originally named ‘Maastricht Maiden’ but also briefly operated between Luton and Dublin as ‘Dublin Lady’. She had originally been delivered to BEA in May 1958 as RMA John Napier and rejoined BA in 1974 after three years with Cambrian. Sold to BAF in 1981 she was re-registered as G-PFBT in 1994 when they were known as British World. Sold in 1997 she was broken up in 2006.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: