Virgin and British Aiways Boeing 747-400's racing for the finish (yes, I am sure this is photoshopped)

Virgin and British Aiways Boeing 747-400's racing for the finish (yes, I am sure this is photoshopped)

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

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

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2 Comments

David,

Branson as we know has never been short of skill when it comes to making the best of a PR opportunity. Thank goodness the city and the general public can now see through him. I gather he had a meeting with his creditors a couple of months ago. They were going to decide whether to close him down or stick with him. The figure in question I believe was circa £4.5 Billion across the group.

he is no condition to take over an airline, Singapore want rid of him and cite his airlines losses (they own 49% of Virgin Atlantic I understand) as one of the major reasons they failed to perform in the last quarter. That makes rather an interesting angle on his (RB’s) claim to be making a profit.

I guess in the absence of substance he needs window dressing. I fear as much for his peoples jobs as I do for a number of other airlines. This is a very rough time for the carriers whatever their size, those that adapt, slim and get creative will survive. Those that don’t will slip into the history books. THAT is what our Willie is doing – and we are glad to help.

Wow, 4 week?! That is a tough situation and it’s a lot to ask for from employees a well.

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