Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have had a cold war going on for years, according to Sir Branson. Now he is taking advantage of British Airways’ admission of financial difficulty by urging the British government not to financially assist the legacy carrier. He states that British Airways is, “not worth much.”
Although Sir Branson might be trying to stir up trouble, British Airways is not in the best financial shape. British Airways’ CEO Willie Walsh has a self-imposed June 30 deadline which he calls, “a fight for survival.”
He recently asked all 40,000 employees to work up to four weeks without pay in an effort to keep the airline afloat.
Sir Branson, who founded the privately held Virgin Atlantic, obviously has much invested if British Airways fails. “We and others are standing by ready to take on their routes and runway slots at Heathrow if they get into serious trouble,” Sir Branson stated re-assuring the government their nation would still have a viable transportation network.
A British Airways spokes person calls Sir Branson’s comments as “fantasy.” The airline stated, “There are no talks with the Government and there will be no talks. We have opposed state aid and our position has not changed.” Both British Airways’s CEO Walsh and finance director Keith Williams have announced they will work for free during the month of July.
Even if British Airways pulls through and Branson is just in fantasy-land, it is never a good sign having an airline (or any company for that matter) asking its employees to work for free. In this economic time, nothing is impossible and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.Source: dailymail Image: SamR