Adventurer and Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson, set a new world record on June 14, 2004, this time for the fastest crossing of the English Channel by an amphibious craft. Using a Gibbs Aquada, Branson eclipsed the previous fastest-recorded crossing time of six hours by more than four hours. Never missing an opportunity to tie his thrill-seeking with his business objectives, Branson immediately announced that Virgin Airlines is planning to offer some of its Upper Class passengers the chance to experience the Gibbs Aquada when travelling to and from London’s Heathrow airport enabling them to beat the traffic by taking to the Thames.
Virgin Atlantic plans to introduce the service within months.
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Speaking in Calais, after setting the new record, Branson said, “for many years our Upper Class passengers have enjoyed our complimentary limousines to and from the airport. Some people prefer our chauffeured motorbikes, but we are now planning to go one step further by introducing the chance to experience a Gibbs Aquada. This new service follows in our tradition of product innovation and fun.
“Just as with our existing limos, those passengers travelling by Gibbs Aquada will be met off their flights by a chauffeur who will drive them to their home, hotel or office. But unlike our other limos when the Gibbs Aquada hits traffic on its way to or from central London the driver simply heads for the nearest slipway and takes to the Thames before rejoining the roads on the final leg of the passenger’s journey.
“Using the Gibbs Aquada, we will be able to cut twenty and thirty minutes off the journey between Heathrow and The City, giving our travellers extra time for meetings or relaxation. The Thames is London’s defining feature along the banks of which much of its history has been written and it’s the best introduction to London’s great sights including the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and Tower Bridge. Most Londoners think that the Thames is vastly underused and with the Gibbs Aquada’s revolutionary technology we may see many more people using the river to get around.”
A naturally delighted Alan Gibbs, Chairman of Gibbs Technologies, the manufacturer of the Aquada said, “We are delighted that Virgin has so endorsed High Speed Amphibious Technology and sees the Gibbs Aquada as a perfect fit for transporting its Upper Class passengers. The Gibbs Aquada is a revolutionary vehicle providing a real practical solution to London’s traffic – and there’s no Congestion Charge!”