Virgin Atlantic is removing a Boeing 747-200 from storage and recalling aircrew from unpaid leave to begin its new services to the Caribbean. The aircraft is due to re-enter service in May under a complex lease agreement with Air Atlanta Icelandic, serving Grenada via Tobago from London Gatwick.

Many of the flightdeck crew will come from 74 pilots offered unpaid leave last October when Virgin withdrew its 747 Classics. Of these, 35 took voluntary redundancy, while others transferred to the Airbus A340-600.

Reykjavik-based Air Atlanta has leased one and purchased one of the 747s, and will lease them back to Virgin. The aircraft will fly on the Icelandic carrier's air operator's certificate. Air Atlanta operates Virgin's Lagos, Nigeria, route from London Heathrow and transatlantic routes from Manchester. Virgin has six more stored 747-200s, while Air Atlanta has increased its fleet to 10.

Air Atlanta will provide line maintenance and C checks at London Manston Airport.

Source: Flight International