Posts Tagged ‘Richard Branson’


[BBC NewsVirgin Atlantic has unveiled details of its UK domestic service, including that the operation is called Little Red.

Sir Richard promised that Little Red will have a

Sir Richard promised that Little Red will have a “rock and roll spirit” Photo: Wikipedia

t will launch on 31 March in Manchester, 5 April in Edinburgh and 9 April in Aberdeen, providing a total of 26 daily services to Heathrow airport.

Virgin won key take-off and landing slots at Heathrow after the struggling carrier Bmi was taken over by British Airways’ parent company IAG.

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson said Little Red will go head-on with BA.

BA operates around 52 daily flights between Heathrow and Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. BA also runs services to Scotland from Gatwick and London City airports.

Virgin Atlantic hopes that Little Red, which will use Heathrow Terminal 1, will help feed traffic onto its international service operating from Terminal 3.

Sir Richard said on Friday that Little Red will “go head-to-head with BA to provide domestic flights that deliver Virgin Atlantic’s rock and roll spirit as well as real value for money.”

Read the original story at BBC News…..


BBC News
1st Mar, 2013


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[The Moscow Times] British budget airline easyJet on Wednesday started selling tickets for a Moscow-Manchester service to begin in March, as the no-frills carrier looks set to slash the cost of flying between Russia and Britain.

easyJet plans to launch its low-cost Moscow-London and Moscow- Manchester flights in March

easyJet plans to launch its low-cost Moscow-London and Moscow- Manchester flights in March. Photo: Wikipedia

A one-way trip from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport to Manchester, the third largest city in Britain, starts at $72.49, easyJet director Paul Simmons told The Moscow Times. The price for Moscow-London flights, with sales set to begin in mid-January, will be similar.

As of March 18, there will be four daily flights between Moscow and London, leaving London at 7 a.m. and 2:10 p.m. and Moscow at 2:30 p.m. and 9:40 p.m., Simmons said. The Moscow-Manchester service will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

While there is a fixed quota for tickets sold at the starting price, easyJet operates a system whereby fares increase with demand, making them more expensive in peak periods.

The company’s first commercial flight from Manchester to Moscow is scheduled for March 28. By mid-afternoon in Moscow a one-way ticket on easyJet’s website was selling for £59.99 ($96.70).

As well as stealing market share from Russian carriers, easyJet also expects to boost the numbers of tourists and businessmen travelling between the two countries.

“We will grow the market,” Simmons said. “We tend to do that when we go to a new destination.”

And the company expects the new routes to be lucrative. easyJet could reap profits of up to $2.4 million flying 300,000 passengers annually, he said.

easyJet was awarded the right to operate the Moscow-London route from Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority in October, beating off competition from Richard Branson‘s Virgin Atlantic.

Under a bilateral agreement between Russia and Britain only four carriers can fly between the two countries’ capitals. A space became available earlier this year — for the first time since 1998 ……..

Read the full story at The Moscow Times…..

 


Moscow Times – By Howard Amos
14th Dec, 2012



[BBC News] Virgin Atlantic is to begin a short-haul service between London Heathrow and Manchester from next March.

Virgin Atlantic boss Steve Ridgeway stated: "We'll put in some of the twists that people know and love"

Virgin Atlantic boss Steve Ridgeway stated: “We’ll put in some of the twists that people know and love”. Photo Wikipedia

The airline says its first foray into the UK domestic market will provide competition for British Airways.

It will also provide a regional link for passengers using its long-haul services from Heathrow, it says.

Virgin denied the move was a response to Virgin Rail being told it was losing the West Coast Mainline franchise that covers London to Manchester.

The franchise, held by Virgin since 1997, will be taken on by FirstGroup later this year, the government announced last week.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway told the BBC the move was about increasing choice for UK passengers.

“Since BMI was swallowed by BA, competition in domestic routes has disappeared,” he said.

BA-owner International Airlines Group bought BMI earlier this year.

By offering access to the international hub Heathrow, the new route was about “keeping Manchester and the North East connected with the rest of the world,” he added.

The airline says it will operate three daily flights to Manchester using Airbus A319 aircraft from 31 March 2013. Initially, Mr Ridgway said these aircraft would be leased.

Virgin says that 65% of people who fly from Manchester to London then connect on to another long-haul flight, and they want a share of that market.

Fuel prices

Manchester Airports Group said Virgin was already a strong carrier at the airport with long-haul routes to Barbados, Orlando and Las Vegas.

“We aim to support our airlines as they look to grow and we hope the success of Virgin’s domestic services will lead to further expansion at Manchester,” said Ken O’Toole, chief commercial officer at Manchester Airports Group (MAG).

Virgin Atlantic was founded by Sir Richard Branson, and is 49% owned by Singapore Airlines.

Earlier this month it reported an annual loss because of higher fuel prices.

The carrier made a loss of £80m in the 12 months to the end of February, compared with a profit of £18.5m a year earlier.

BA said in a statement that it was “confident that our excellent customer service and great value fares will continue to set the standard in UK short-haul aviation”.

See the original story and interview at BBC News . . . . .


BBC News
21st Aug, 2012



[Australian Business Traveller] Virgin Atlantic will reveal its new ‘Upper Class Dream Suite’ business class seats this weekend, with the cabin’s first flight on the daily London-New York (VS003/004) service on April 21st.

Sir Richard Branson wants to give Virgin Atlantic's business class a lift

Sir Richard Branson wants to give Virgin Atlantic's business class a lift

Sources at Virgin Atlantic confirmed the launch date to Australian Business Traveller, with April 21st tied to the debut of Virgin Atlantic’s newest Airbus A330.

This will be Virgin’s first A330 fitted with business class, and will sport 33 seats over nine rows (in a mosty 1-2-1 layout) in the same space where the current A330s have 59 premium economy seats (arranged 2-3-2).

What Virgin Atlantic promises to be a “cutting-edge Upper Class cabin” will also include an updated bar design located by the entrance, a new in-flight entertainment system plus a refreshed “fine dining” menu, with an ‘express supper menus’ for lighter meals and quicker service.

“This is not just about the seat” says Virgin Atlantic chief operating officer Steve Griffiths.

“This is about creating a gap [with our competitors]. It involves new product, new in-flight entertainment and investment in the service. It will absolutely make Virgin Atlantic the best in class.”…..

Read the full story at the Australian Business Traveller….


By David Flynn
22 APR, 2012



Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic is to launch a legal appeal against the British Airways acquisition of bmi from Lufthansa and demand that BA give up more slots at Heathrow.

Sir Richard Branson says the BA-bmi deal will mean less competition at Heathrow and lead to higher fares for passengers.

Sir Richard Branson says the BA-bmi deal will mean less competition at Heathrow and lead to higher fares for passengers.

Writing in today’s Sunday Telegraph, Sir Richard says that the deal will mean less competition at Heathrow and would lead to higher fares for passengers.

“One of the key aims of competition regulation is to protect the consumer from monopoly situations where companies can set whatever prices they like and stop investing in their product,” Sir Richard said.

“In this situation the public suffers, the industry suffers and the country suffers.

“That is why Virgin Atlantic will appeal the decision by the European Commission to wave through BA’s merging with bmi in just 35 working days.

“I truly cannot believe this directive and we will challenge every aspect of this process that, if allowed to stand, will undoubtedly damage the British airline industry for years to come.”

International Airlines Group, which owns BA, sealed the £172.5m deal earlier this year. The EC gave the purchase the go-ahead despite complaints from Virgin.

The EC did demand that BA give up some of its slots at Heathrow, remedies which Sir Richard said did not go far enough.

“This is the last big exchange of UK flying slots – 8.5pc of Heathrow’s total number – leaving BA with 54pc of all take-off and landing rights at the world’s busiest airport, while leaving its nearest British rival, Virgin Atlantic, with only 3pc,” he said…..

Read the full story at The Daily telegraph….


By , Sunday Telegraph Business Editor
9:30PM BST 14 Apr 2012



Virgin Atlantic is preparing to bid for the 12 pairs of Heathrow slots that will be freed up following British Airways’ takeover of bmi as Sir Richard Branson sets his sights on launching his first UK domestic flights.

Virgin, which currently holds 3pc of Heathrow slots, has long hankered after a foothold in the UK domestic market. Photo: Alamy

Virgin, which currently holds 3pc of Heathrow slots, has long hankered after a foothold in the UK domestic market. Photo: Alamy

The airline is calling on the European Commission to ensure the 12 slots are auctioned as one complete package to provide the “most effective” competition to BA-owner International Airlines Group (IAG).

IAG will dominate 51pc of Heathrow slots after the bmi deal completes on April 20, even though it agreed to relinquish 14 pairs of take-off and landing slots to satisfy European competition authorities. Of the 14 pairs, two are already leased to Russian airline Transaero, meaning only 12 would be available for use by a new entrant.

Virgin, which currently holds 3pc of Heathrow slots, has long hankered after a foothold in the UK domestic market. It failed on several occasions to buy bmi.

Julie Southern, chief commercial officer at Virgin Atlantic, said the 12 slots relinquished by IAG were a “wholly inadequate” remedy to increasing competition on certain UK and European routes but the airline would nevertheless be among the bidders. The auction process is expected to commence in several weeks’ time.

Ms Southern told The Daily Telegraph: “We will apply to take up all of the remedy. We think it is important that the 12 pairs of slots stay together. It’s only by flying those all together that you get effective competition.”

Read the whole story at The Telegraph here….


By Nathalie Thomas
08/04/2012



Having just arrived in Philadelphia, low-cost airline Virgin America will quickly find itself involved in the debate over the city’s planned expansion of Philadelphia International Airport.

Low-cost airline Virgin America will quickly find itself involved in the debate over the city's planned expansion of Philadelphia International Airport

Low-cost airline Virgin America will quickly find itself involved in the debate over the city's planned expansion of Philadelphia International Airport

Picture: from left, Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Congressman Chaka Fattah, Virgin America CEO and President David Cush, Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and flight attendants wave to the crowd at the airport . Virgin America lands in Philadelphia with new direct flights into Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport ( SFO). April 4, 2012. (MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff Photographer).

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and chief executive officer David Cush cautiously broached the issue this week, urging a weighing of the dueling priorities of the city-owned airport and its airline tenants.

“It’s a very complicated balancing act for an airport,” said Cush in an interview. “You have to build for the future, but you have to keep your eye on the costs in the present, or airlines just leave.”

The expansion plan, which the city says would cost $6.4 billion over 13 years, would build a fifth runway, lengthen two existing runways, and add new terminal and parking facilities. The city says the expansion is necessary to increase capacity and reduce congestion at Philadelphia International.

The airlines that operate at the airport, particularly the two largest carriers, US Airways and Southwest Airlines, contend the cost would be much higher – about $10.5 billion – and that since they would be expected to pay much of that, it could force them to reduce operations in Philadelphia. They argue that a new runway would not substantially reduce congestion in Philadelphia, because the big problem is the crowded airspace between New York and Washington.

Officials for the city and US Airways are now in negotiations over a long-term airport lease for the airline. US Airways is balking at signing a new lease unless the current expansion plans are changed.

Cush said airports and airlines have different goals, which often creates tensions over development projects.

“Airports have to think longer-term than sometimes airlines do,” he said. “When you’re building a new terminal or building a new runway, in particular a new runway, these are 20-year projects. Airlines are thinking about the next quarter and the next year.”

Still, it’s important for an airport to hold down its cost structure, Cush said. “When airports overbuild or when airports build facilities that are too expensive, airlines leave.”

Read the full story at philly.com….


April 06, 2012
By Paul Nussbaum, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER