Virtuoso CEO Upchurch godfather of new B777 Crystal Skye

Virtuoso CEO Upchurch godfather of new B777 Crystal Skye

LAS VEGAS — Crystal AirCruises’ custom Boeing 777 was christened Crystal Skye at McCarran International Airport this past weekend, at a gala event attended by Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez, Chairman and Chief Executive of Genting Hong Kong Tan Sri Kok Thay Lim and Crystal Skye’s godfather, Matthew D. Upchurch.

In his role as Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso, Upchurch has collaborated closely with Crystal and its partners to deliver exclusive travel experiences throughout the world, said Rodriguez.

Crystal livestreamed the occasion via its Facebook Live feed, effectively welcoming travellers from all over the globe to witness Crystal Skye’s debut. After the breaking of champagne against the aircraft’s hull, Rodriguez welcomed guests aboard Crystal Skye to see the signature design touches and luxurious space first hand.

“It is tremendously rewarding to officially welcome Crystal Skye to the Crystal fleet, as she represents a bold new venture for our company, effectively creating an entirely new category of luxury travel in the industry,” said Rodriguez. “Beyond Crystal’s own award-winning fleet and internationally acclaimed brand of luxury, this aircraft pushes the boundaries of bespoke chartered aviation industry-wide.”

She added, “It is fitting that such a revered leader in luxury travel would christen a vessel that will set an entirely new standard in the industry; and even more so that her godfather would be a member of the travel professional community. We’re delighted to collaborate with Matthew for this milestone occasion, and to continue collaborating with all of our travel agent partners when Crystal Skye takes to the skies.”

Upchurch said it was “an incredible honour” to be named godfather of Crystal Skye. “Virtuoso has enjoyed a strong partnership with Crystal Cruises since the launch of its first ship, and the company has been named a favourite amongst our advisors for the service and experience our clients enjoy with Crystal.

Virtuoso CEO Upchurch godfather of new B777 Crystal Skye

“As Crystal diversifies its offerings, we look forward to supporting their efforts, just as they continue to support the travel advisor community and Virtuoso.”

Designed for up to 88 guests, Crystal Skye has the highest crew to passenger ratio of any twin-aisle aircraft and a non-stop range of 19.5 hours.

Bespoke Crystal Exclusive Class seats convert to 180-degree lie-flat beds. The expansive social lounge comes complete with stand-up bar. Cuisine will be prepared by an executive chef, in two galleys and paired with an elegant premium wine list from the Crystal SkyeCellar.

In November 2015 Crystal announced it was buying the B777 to offer an array of global itineraries for its expanded brand extension Crystal Luxury Air.

The announcement came on the heels of Crystal’s news in July of an extensive brand expansion.

Crystal had planned to offer airtours with flights on Crystal Skye, similar to what Four Seasons, Abercrombie & Kent and a number of other luxury companies offer with private jet tour experiences. Two to four week around-the-world and international itineraries were set to begin this year.

However Crystal announced earlier this summer that it was cancelling Crystal Skye’s scheduled airtour departures and opting instead to use the jet for special interest charter departures customizable to each group.