Virgin Atlantic, a trading name of Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited and Virgin Atlantic International Limited, is a British airline with its head office in Crawley, United Kingdom. The airline was established in 1984 as British Atlantic Airways, and was originally planned by its co-founders Randolph Fields and Alan Hellary to fly between London and the Falkland Islands. Soon after changing the name to Virgin Atlantic Airways, Fields sold his shares in the company after disagreements with Sir Richard Branson over the management of the company. The maiden flight from London Gatwick to Newark Liberty International Airport took place on 22 June 1984.
The airline along with Virgin Holidays is controlled by a holding company, Virgin Atlantic Limited, which is 51% owned by the Virgin Group and 49% by Delta Air Lines. It is administratively separate from other Virgin-branded airlines. Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited and Virgin Atlantic International Limited both hold Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Type A Operating Licences, both of which permit these airlines, operating as Virgin Atlantic Airways, to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.
Virgin Atlantic uses a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing wide-body aircraft and operates to destinations in North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia from its main bases at London Heathrow and London Gatwick, and its secondary base at Manchester. The airline also operates Seasonal Flights from Glasgow and Belfast.