Branson hits back at BA over Virgin Atlantic brand axe rumours

Sir Richard Branson: says Virgin Atlantic brand is here to stay
Sir Richard Branson: says Virgin Atlantic brand is here to stay

Richard Branson has hit back at rumours that the Virgin Atlantic brand may be axed in a future deal with US airline Delta.

Delta is reportedly in talks with Virgin Atlantic to take over Singapore Airline's 49% stake in the airline, with subsequent reports that Delta's European partners Air France-KLM may also look to acquire a slice of Branson’s 51% majority stake.

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways-owner International Airlines Group, has reignited the old rivalry between his and Branson's airlines, by claiming that Delta is embarking on the deal in order to gain access to Virgin's prized slots at Heathrow Airport.

Walsh told The Daily Telegraph: "I can't see Delta wanting to operate the Virgin brand because if they do, what does that say about the Delta brand?"

Branson's response, entitled, "Sorry BA, we're not going anywhere," batted away speculation that the entrepreneur is planning on giving up control of Virgin Atlantic and that the brand will soon disappear. He also challenged BA to pay Virgin Atlantic staff £1m if, in five years, the brand remains active.

Branson said: "This is wishful thinking and totally misguided. Will BA never learn? Let's see how much they believe this. Let's put their money where their mouth is.

"The last time BA had to make a settlement to me for damages (in part for spreading not dissimilar false rumours) I split the money amongst our staff. Rather than suing on this occasion, I will pay £1 million to their staff if Virgin Atlantic disappears within say five years. If not, BA pays our staff £1 million.

"Virgin Atlantic was my baby 28 years ago when we set up with just one plane. Like all children, they never really stop being your babies and Virgin Atlantic is still much cherished. It has grown into a wonderful airline which has punched above its weight for almost three decades, giving much larger airlines a real run for their money.

"We intend to carry on doing so for many years to come and, contrary to Mr Walsh's hopes, we have no plans to disappear. But since they are so confident, will BA accept our challenge?"

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Virgin, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug
Thetrainline.com backs 'rubbish' mobile app with TV ad
Powerade launches global World Cup campaign
Subway considers taking fast food to fast lane with F1 sponsorship
Burberry's flagship Shanghai store facade responds to weather changes
Ikea splurges 'grey' Belgium with colour
Grim outlook for Tesco boss Philip Clarke ahead of expected profits fall
Thomson to create first crowd-sourced wedding decided by Facebook fans
Currency wars meets origami in Alpari FX trading ad campaign
Amazon rumoured to launch 3D smartphone in September
Facebook to allow European users to store and transfer money on site, claims report
Unilever pilots multi-brand advertising with YouTube beauty channel
Lego, Coca-Cola, Net-a-Porter, Bitcoin and AOL: the digitally creative brands