Virgin Atlantic has been up to something in secret, but thanks to a keen-eyed spotter, we’ve been able to get a peek. A behemoth Virgin 747 has been dressed in full Star Wars inspired livery from nose to tail, and has even been renamed in celebration of Disney’s latest theme park attraction.
Update 25/09/2019 20:00
Virgin has today confirmed that this 747 has entered service, flying between London Gatwick and Orlando, Florida. They have also released this super cool timelapse video of the decal being applied:
In a paint hanger, far, far away…
Under cover of darkness, and a tin roof, something amazing has been happening. A Virgin 747 has been having an incredible makeover. And Virgin hasn’t just painted this plane; its renamed it too! G-VLIP was previously known as Hot Lips, but from henceforth will be known as ‘The Falcon’.
Although the plane is yet to be officially unveiled, it’s hard to keep something this big and gorgeous under wraps. Eagle-eyed photographer Simon Austen spied it coming out of the paint shop and shared these incredible images on Twitter.
NEW SPECIAL LIVERY FROM @VirginAtlantic!
Looks like Virgin have joined LATAM in advertising Star Wars on their aircraft, this example being on a 747-400, what do we all think? I think it looks fab! ✈️
Photo credit: Simon Austen pic.twitter.com/ifrVlsV3xc
— Tom. ✈️ (@TWAviation_) September 24, 2019
The livery features the moniker ‘The Falcon’ just underneath the Varga girl, then a detailed rendering of the Millennium Falcon stretching from the top of the hump right down to the wings. The narrower part of the fuselage is consumed by the blue energy blasts from the speeding Falcon, with the advertising for Star Wars and Walt Disney World Resort all in this area.
While it looks super cool, we’re relieved to see that the 747 has kept its trademark Virgin red tail and engines. Although not officially unveiled yet, Virgin confirmed we should await exciting news soon!
Why Star Wars?
The new livery is all part of a celebration/advertising campaign for the new Star Wars themed area in the Disney park at Orlando. Named ‘A Galaxy’s Edge’, the new zone is said to be one of the most groundbreaking theme park attractions ever built, and includes the opportunity to fly the Millennium Falcon yourself!
As well as this, you can build your own lightsaber, join the forces of light or dark in full costume and, from December, experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, said to be the most ambitious attraction Disney has ever built. Only opened at the end of August, A Galaxy’s Edge has been insanely popular, but is being effectively managed by Disney using virtual queueing systems.
Not alone in the celebrations
Virgin Atlantic aren’t alone in celebrating the opening of the new themed zone. Days ago, Santiago based LATAM Airlines unveiled a Boeing 777 with a stunning Star Wars inspired livery. The 11 year old 777-300ER has had a full body makeover, including a massive stormtrooper on the tail.
SPECIAL LIVERY: LATAM Brasil Boeing 777-300ER PT-MUA now wears ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ scheme, promoting the new @starwars areas of Disney’s Anaheim & Orlando Resorts. The aircraft has been stored at Abu Dhabi since July 24th & will return to service in October.
📸: @abear_br pic.twitter.com/mC4movVMpH
— Airport Webcams (@AirportWebcams) September 18, 2019
The LATAM plane will apparently be operating flights between Sao Paulo-Guarulhos to a number of destinations, including Orlando and Miami.
According to chatter in the Twitterverse, other airlines are also planning Star Wars inspired liveries too. Both ANA and United have been name checked so far. We’ll just have to wait and see if what they come up with is as awesome as both Virgin’s and LATAM’s efforts.