Spectators Balcony (Spotters Corner)If you're not a professional pilot but want to discuss issues about the job, this is the best place to loiter. You won't be moved on by 'security' and there'll be plenty of experts to answer any questions.
Yes, G-OUZO was a A320. It operated Atlantic's only European schedule at the time. It served Athens from both Heathrow and Gatwick. It was later replaced by the A321 that started this particular thread. Virgin Sun also operated A320s and 321s, but they were painted in the (mainly) yellow colour scheme that had most people reaching for the indigestion tablets! Virgin Sun was wound up in October of 2001 because it wasn't making any money. The travelling public LOVED Virgin sun, but the profit margins on charter operations were deemed to be too slim for the accountants liking. Sadly, the Sun aircraft were all taken to Bristol Filton and parked until a buyer could be found (Virgin still had a long time to run on the leases, so they had to keep up the monthly payments.) As this was immediately post 9-11, nobody wanted to take on any extra aircraft, so they stayed at Bristol for AGES and it cost Virgin a fortune in parking / lease charges. It probably would have been cheaper to keep Virgin Sun operating and build up the business slowly but surely until the profits became healthy?
Virgin, in addition to being an airline, is a marketing brand. They sell their name to all sorts of businesses owned and managed by independent investors, Virgin Group/Richard Branson take a minority stake, and a significant fee for the use of the brand, and Branson makes himself available for occasional publicity etc, but they are effectively independent businesses.
They have various levels of success.
In aviation Virgin Blue in Australia, owned by Oz investors, is a spectacular success. Conversely CityJet in Dublin, when they first started out in the 1990s, also became a Virgin franchise but gave it up when they found it contributed little but cost them a lot. There was also, in the 1980s, a Viscount (yes !) operation from Gatwick to Maastricht, with aircraft supplied and crewed by BAF in Virgin livery. Virgin Nigeria and the forthcoming operation in the US are further examples.
Virgin Sun never made money and the owners got rid of it.
The Virgin Trains network in the UK, contrary to what you might think, is owned 50% by Stagecoach, who have some separate trains fully owned as well as their many bus operations. Stagecoach also have indirect ownership of Scot Airways, the LCY operator.
Virgin Sun was a separate company to Virgin Atlantic, but he crews were all from Virgin Atlantic. They were all part of the same seniority list but the pilots were on a different pay scale. There were 5 A320/1s either in Sun or Atlantic colours. All five were grounded in the post 9/11 shakeup, the crews either being made redundant or re-trained on the B744 or A343. Some of the aircraft sat on the ground at Filton before evnetually being sold to a Turkish operator.
The tech crews were all Virgin Atlantic pilots on the main seniority list who, with a few notable exceptions returned to the B744/A340. The cabin crew were Virgin Sun, most of them seemed to go to Air 2000 after the operation closed down.