Richard Branson: why I shut down Virgin Atlantic in Australia

By David Flynn , February 11 2014
Richard Branson: why I shut down Virgin Atlantic in Australia

Sir Richard Branson says that Virgin Atlantic's Australian operations were costing the company some $10 million per year, but hopes his airline will one day return to Australian skies.

Until then, the brash British billionaire says his trips to Australia will leave him no choice but to fly on arch-competitors BA or Qantas with a bag over his head.

"I love going to Australia and the idea of having to go on Qantas or British Airways is going to be very, very painful" he said. "But hopefully we'll be back one day."

Also read: Leave Australia? "We're here to stay" says BA

“We have a great Virgin Australian airline when you get there, which has got 35 percent of the market, so we're just going to have a bag over our heads for that one leg from Hong Kong onwards [from London], sadly, in the future" Branson told Arabian Business during a weekend visit to Dubai.

“I suspect we carried on going too long [on the Sydney-Hong Kong route] and that's always a danger in business, you hope that next year will be better than the previous year" Branson admitted.

Read: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: options for Australian frequent flyers

Independents good, alliances bad

Branson also took a swing at the formation of alliances between major carriers, including the Qantas-Emirates partnership, saying they stifle competition and could inevitably lead to increased prices.

Governments should have prevented hook-ups such as Qantas and Emirates, as well as British Airways and American Airlines.

Branson explained it was the eventual approval of BA-AA partnership in 2010 by "a weak regulator" which "forced" an alliance between Virgin Atlantic and US carrier Delta.

“That then caused us to go along to Delta and say 'we need a big brother now',” Branson said.

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 123

Can't see why he wouldn't just fly Singapore anyways... The

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 316

I was just going to say the same thing. Especially since Singapore used to own a sizeable chunk of VA.

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

If you read more carfully:

" we're just going to have a bag over our heads for that one leg from Hong Kong onwards [from London]"

Could have said Cathay maybe?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 123

He can always fly Etihad/Virgin Australia. That'd at least be party Virgin. Or really keep it in the family and go VS LHR-DXB and VA AUH-SYD...

Free marketing for BA and QF

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

seems he's done a disservice to all the other airline options on the UK/OZ route he's 'in bed with'....  he'd  tolerate BA/QF 'with a bag over his head' ... than fly any other airline..LOL...just goes to prove RICHARD BRANSON IS ALL ABOUT RICHARD BRANSON!!

lee
lee

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2013

Total posts 25

Virgin Atlantic to LAX then VA to Sydney? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1227

Seems so obvious, right?

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 140

Sydneycentricity rules, eh?

DGP
DGP

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jan 2012

Total posts 177

I wonder if VS would have been more viable down to Sydney if they operated Twin Engine 777 aircraft instead of the Quad Engine A340 aircraft.  Most airlines seem to be moving away from Quad Engine aircraft (except A380's) due to the economies of the aircraft.

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

It'll take quite a while for VS if they have to get a 777. Repainting, re-seat configuring, and even now VA barely has enough! How about the A330? That'll work...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1227

DGP, that's what I asked in the other thread. The A346 sure is beautiful to look at but unfortunately it's a fuel guzzler.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jun 2013

Total posts 367

RICHARD is all about RICHARD ,and knows any publicity good or bad is good especially when its free

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 387

Touche!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 387

Touche!

27 Feb 2013

Total posts 12

Perhaps they may have done better serviceing Melbourne (or even Brisbane or Perth) where BA did not compete.

I see today that Richard Branson is putting in his 2 cents worth regarding Qantas bid for government assistance, a bit rich coming from someone who could not make a go of the Australian market!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1227

Made the front page news in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

12 Nov 2013

Total posts 3

What about LHR-LAX on VS then LAX-SYD on VA?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 43

If virgin had better international options, I would have flown them internationally more. I think they're great domestically and I've flow a lot with them

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Feb 2013

Total posts 15

Just from a lowly tourist's point of view living in cold, wet Scotland, BA does offer a welcome stopover in Singapore which I too prefer and also has the only premium economy on that route to SYD that I could find. Looking forward to flying VA for the first time in a few weeks though!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2011

Total posts 42

Someone needs to remind Richard Branson that as a Virgin employee, he's eligible for staff travel on Cathay. Economy only, valid for HKG-SYD ;)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Feb 2014

Total posts 1

He doesn't want to fly Singapore because he takes his own airline to Hong Kong. We used the Virgin Atlantic Sydney - London and found it a fantastic service. It will be sadly missed


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